Tuesday, 28 December 2021 00:00

How Stress Fractures Develop and Differ From Breaks

When someone engages in regular physical activity, such as running, jumping, or other repetitive movements, this can stress the bones in the feet and lower legs. Over time, these repetitive movements and stress can lead to the development of tiny hairline cracks in the bones. These stress fractures can also develop when the type, duration, intensity, or frequency of physical activity occurs. Unlike more severe breaks due to acute trauma, which can cause immediate and intense pain, the pain from stress fractures can be duller and develop more gradually. Ballet dancers and athletes engaging in high impact sports such as basketball, tennis, track and field, soccer, and hockey are at greater risk of developing these microscopic fissures in their foot or lower leg bones. Along with a dull pain which intensifies during physical activity, there may be swelling, tenderness and bruising in the affected area. A podiatrist should be consulted if there is any pain in the feet or lower legs. They will perform an exam, test sensitivity to pressure in the affected area, and may use X-rays or bone scans to properly diagnose the issue. This professional assessment and care will not only help heal the stress fracture, but also prevent it from becoming a more severe break.

Stress fractures occur when there is a tiny crack within a bone. To learn more, contact one of our podiatrists from PA Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain free and on your feet.

How Are They Caused?

Stress fractures are the result of repetitive force being placed on the bone. Since the lower leg and feet often carry most of the body’s weight, stress fractures are likely to occur in these areas. If you rush into a new exercise, you are more likely to develop a stress fracture since you are starting too much, too soon.  Pain resulting from stress fractures may go unnoticed at first, however it may start to worsen over time.

Risk Factors

  • Gender – They are more commonly found in women compared to men.
  • Foot Problems – People with unusual arches in their feet are more likely to develop stress fractures.
  • Certain Sports – Dancers, gymnasts, tennis players, runners, and basketball players are more likely to develop stress fractures.
  • Lack of Nutrients – A lack of vitamin D and calcium may weaken the bones and make you more prone to stress fractures
  • Weak Bones – Osteoporosis can weaken the bones therefore resulting in stress fractures

Stress fractures do not always heal properly, so it is important that you seek help from a podiatrist if you suspect you may have one. Ignoring your stress fracture may cause it to worsen, and you may develop chronic pain as well as additional fractures.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Pennsylvania . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

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