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Stress Factures of the Foot

Treatment for Stress Fractures in Fox Valley

A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone. Stress fractures most commonly occur in the weight-bearing bones of the lower legs and feet. They are most often the result of overuse or a sudden change or increase in physical activity. Stress fractures of the foot are a common injury among athletes who participate in running and jumping intensive sports such as track and field, basketball, tennis, and gymnastics. However, stress fractures can also occur in the bones of non-athletes, particularly as the result of a sudden change in exercise routines or other physical activities. People suffering from osteoporosis, or other bone weakening diseases, are at a significantly greater risk and may suffer a stress fracture as the result of ordinary everyday activities.

Stress fractures most often occur in the second and third metatarsals of the foot. This is the greatest area of impact when walking, running or jumping. Stress fractures of the foot can also occur in the calcaneus (heel), the navicular (a small bone at the top of the middle of the foot), and the talus (the large bone in the ankle that connects with the tibia, calcaneus, and navicular bones of the foot).

Causes of Stress Fractures of the Foot

Stress fractures are classified as overuse injuries. In most cases, they are the result of a change in the manner, frequency, or duration of physical activities. While stress fractures of the foot are mostly associated with athletes, they are not uncommon in non-athletes and can happen to anyone with an active lifestyle.

The following contributing factors can place patients at a greater risk for stress fractures of the foot:

  • Improper equipment: the wearing of worn or improper footwear while exercising can increase the likelihood of stress fractures to the foot and ankle.
  • Poor conditioning: failing to warm up properly before an exercise routine can place undue stress on the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot, increasing the risk of stress fractures. Starting a rigorous exercise regime before the body has become accustomed to the stress and strain can increase the likelihood of stress fractures.
  • Bone insufficiency: chronic conditions that decrease bone strength and density, such as osteoporosis, greatly increase the risk of stress fractures. Patients suffering from decreased bone density may experience stress fractures as the result of common daily activities.

Symptoms of Stress Fractures of the Foot

The most common symptoms associated with a stress fracture of the foot include the following:

  • Pain develops gradually, increases with weight-bearing activity, diminishes with rest
  • Pain becomes more severe and occurs during normal daily activities
  • Swelling on top of the foot
  • Tenderness to touch at the site of the fracture
  • Possible bruising

For more information, call (630) 584-1400 to schedule an appointment.