Stress Fractures

There are many types of fractures that can occur in the foot and ankle, but a stress fracture is one that we see frequently.  These types of fractures are usually due to a repetitive stress from activities such as running.  The second metatarsal bone seems to be the most common bone that sustains a stress fracture, but it can occur in any bone of the foot or ankle.  

Stress fractures are much more likely to occur in people who have just started a new exercise routine or after being on the feet for an extended period of time on a hard surface.

Stress fractures seem to be more common in women.  Some factors that increase the risk for fractures include:  smoking, excessive running, osteoporosis and low levels of vitamin D.   We also tend to see stress fractures in people that have a flexible or hypermobile foot type as this tends to place excessive pressure onto the lesser metatarsal bones.

Symptoms of a stress fracture include pain, redness and swelling over the front part of the foot.  These symptoms usually start suddenly and may worsen with increased activity.

What we can do to help you with this problem

If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with a stress fracture, we should see you as a patient in our office.  It is important not to ignore the symptoms of a stress fracture as this may allow the fractured bone to shift and become more unstable.

Initially, we will take a complete history and physical examination of the foot to determine the cause of the stress fracture.  We will take digital x-rays.  Many stress fractures are very small and are easy to miss with an untrained eye.  Our experience allows us to effectively make this diagnosis.

Depending on the severity of the fracture, we will need to immobilize the foot.  If the stress fracture is stable, we may need to simply use an ACE wrap to control swelling and place you into a surgical shoe to remove the bending forces onto the metatarsal bone.  If the stress fracture is unstable, it may be necessary to place you into a walking boot or even a fiberglass cast and crutches for complete immobilization.  If a fractured metatarsal becomes displaced or is very unstable, surgery is sometimes necessary.

If you have symptoms consistent with a stress fracture or any other fracture in your foot or ankle, we should be the first call that you make.  The doctors at Council Bluffs Foot & Ankle Care are experts in the treatment of all injuries such as this.  Call today to request an appointment.

320 McKenzie Ave., Ste. 102

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