Stress fractures are a common overuse injury in athletes and weekend warriors of all ages. Stress fractures occur due to fatigue from repeated stress such as running or jumping over time. This is in contrast to “normal” fractures from a sudden severe impact or twisting motion.
Where and why do they occur?
Stress fractures most commonly occur in the tibia (shin bone), fibula (ankle bone), navicular (foot bone), and metatarsal (bones behind the toes). The pain is typically brought on by a rapid increase in exercise such as sports, running, or jumping. In the early stages, pain is present during activity but subsides with rest. In later stages or more severe stress fractures, pain may be present with any weight bearing activity. If left untreated the stress fracture may even displace, similar to a “normal” fracture, and require surgery.
Your foot and ankle specialist at Advanced Foot and Ankle Center in Mckinney and Prosper will perform a thorough history and physical exam. X-rays during the early stage may show a faint line or “hairline fracture”. After 3 weeks from onset of pain, x-rays may show bone remodeling and healing with what is called callous formation.
Stress fractures are typically treated by immobilization, partial weight bearing, and modification of activity. Your foot and ankle specialist may order a pneumatic cam boot to immobilize the foot, protect the stress fracture, thereby allow healing. For more severe and rare cases, complete non weight bearing may be necessary.
If you or a family member show the signs and symptoms of a stress fracture, call Advanced Foot and Ankle Center of Mckinney and Prosper to schedule your appointment!