Stress fractures of the foot

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Stress fractures
Stress fractures of the foot

Stress fractures are minute and tiny fractures that are most commonly encountered during sport injuries. The application of stress on the foot over and over again due to some sport causes the small breaks in the foot bones. These are severely painful but the good thing is that they heal themselves if proper precautions taken. The already weak bones like due to osteoporosis, are even more prone to get such fractures even by a low amount of stress. However, the main predisposing factors to such fractures are the sports that put much stress on the foot, for example during running or jumping. Giving feet the proper rest remains the main key in solving this problem and gets healed rapidly. This article mainly focuses on the causes and treatment options for stress fractures of foot.

What are causes of stress fractures?

The main cause of the stress fractures in the foot is the high impact activity that puts load on the foot repeatedly. Main causes are:

  • Frequent and excessive use of foot
  • Sudden and too much work out
  • Improper and tight fitting shoes
  • Running on hard surfaces
  • Bad athletic techniques
  • Weakness of foot bones

Signs and symptoms of stress fractures of foot:

Major manifestations of stress fractures in the foot are:

  • Dull diffused pain in area of fracture
  • Worsening of pain on walking or moving foot
  • Swelling in affected area
  • Inflammation
  • Tenderness
  • Redness
  • Bruising at fractured part of foot


A complete medical history is required about the recent activities and a thorough physical examination is performed by the doctor to get the diagnosis. Imaging techniques are almost always used in such cases to be sure about the problem. Stress fractures are so minute that the X-rays might miss them so some advanced modalities like MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and nuclear bone scan are used by the physician.

Treatment for stress fractures of the foot:

There are two main treating options; one through surgery and others include non-surgical and non-invasive disorders. The immediate thing to do is stopping the physical activity as early as the stress fracture is suspected as continuing activity can make fracture large and graver.

Non-surgical Treatments:

The nonsurgical methods include:

Rest: This is the basic remedy to cure the stress fractures. Giving proper rest cause the bone cells to work rapidly and heal the fractured bone. New bone tales place of the broken part. If foot moves, the inflammatory processes may start and aggravate and can prolong healing process.

Reduce Inflammation: The presence of the inflammatory substances will hamper the working of bone forming cells and will also cause pain and tenderness. Apply some ice cubes on the foot or soak in iced water to reduce the inflammation.

Change footwear: The tightly fitting and abnormal shaped shoes can cause the hindrance in activity and also can result in small fractures so choose some wide, roomy, comfortable and best fitted shoes.

Surgical Treatments:

Surgery is required in some very serious small fractures. This is known as the internal fixation in which small screws, plates or wires are used to keep small bones at places and make the healing fast.

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