Stress Fractures

Introduction

The foot and ankle is collectively made up of more than thirty bones. Its main responsibility is to provide balance on uneven surfaces, allow motion for walking or running, and support the rest of the body. When there is a small crack in any bone, it’s understood to be a stress fracture and is usually the result of overuse; occurring when there is a sudden increase in normal activity. This condition is typically seen in athletes but can occur in non-athletes who begin performing physically in a manner the bones are not used to.

If the bone previously suffers from osteoporosis, or any other diseases that degenerate the bone, stress fractures are a common result when pressure is applied to the weakened area. These fractures are most often located at the ball of the foot since this is the greatest source of impact with the foot pushing off the ground when walking. Due to overuse and repetitive action to one particular point in the foot stress fractures occur. Bone insufficiency, poor conditioning, improper technique during activities, improper equipment, and even a change in surface can cause bones to experiences stress fractures.

Symptoms of stress fractures include bruising, swelling at the top of the foot or the outside of the ankle, pain that increases during physical activity, or tenderness to touch. The pain usually decreases when the foot is left to rest. Stress fractures usually heal on their own accord.

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