Stress fractures (or hairline fractures), are created by the repetitive pounding that occurs during activities like recreational and competitive sports, especially those that involve a high degree of running, jumping, and quick stops and starts. Ballet dancers are also more likely to experience stress fractures.
Stress fractures usually develop slowly and may show intermittent symptoms making them difficult to diagnose. Your foot doctor can often detect a possible stress fracture during the manipulation that occurs in a physical exam. An x-ray or MRI will be needed for confirmation.
Treatment for stress fractures includes the following:
- Immobilize the foot—The only way to effectively heal a stress fracture is to allow the break to completely heal. An immobilizing cast, or walking boot may be prescribed by your foot doctor, and the initial healing period can take anywhere from four to twelve weeks or more, depending upon the severity of the injury.
- Physical therapy—Carefully selected strength and flexibility exercises will be necessary to gradually improve the affected area without causing a reinjury.
- Slow reintroduction of activities—Slowly introduce sporting and exercise activities, and use low impact swimming and cycling until you and your foot doctor determine that more stressful activities can be tolerated.
- Surgery—In more severe cases of a stress fracture, surgery using pins and other hardware may be required to hold the bones together while they heal. A longer recovery period and proper physical therapy lasting six months or longer will be required.
If you have experienced a stress fracture to your foot or ankle, see your foot doctor for the proper treatment. Call Syracuse Podiatry located in East Syracuse, New York. Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico, Dr. Kathleen Pyatak-Hugar, and Dr. Donal M. Erickson and their staff will help you diagnose and treat your foot or ankle condition. Call 315-446-3668 or make an appointment online today.