Frequently seen in athletes, stress fractures (or hairline fractures) are caused by the repetitive pounding encountered during recreational and competitive sports that involve a large amount of running and jumping, such as soccer and basketball.
Conversely, a stress fracture can occur when a person who has been sedentary for a long period of time decides to suddenly start exercising. The bones just aren’t used to the increase in pressure, and are more prone to cracking. Most often, however, hairline fractures develop over time, and usually affect the weight bearing bones of the body including the lower leg bone (tibia), the long bones above the toes (metatarsals), and other bones of the foot.
The most effective method of confirming the diagnosis of a stress fracture is with an MRI scan. Once confirmed, the oftentimes arduous procedure of treatment and rehabilitation can begin.
Treating Stress Fractures
The only way to effectively heal a stress fracture is to allow the break to heal completely. A cast or walking boot may be prescribed by your foot doctor and the initial healing period can range anywhere from four to twelve or more weeks, depending upon the severity of the injury.
After this initial period of healing, you may no longer feel any pain during regular daily movements, but it is essential that you only gradually reintroduce activities such as running or playing sports because trying to do too much too fast can cause a reoccurrence.
In cases of a severe stress fracture, surgery involving the insertion of pins may be necessary, followed by a long recovery period and extensive physical therapy lasting six months or more.
The podiatrists at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, in New York City, NY, have extensive experience treating stress fractures, and are experts in providing the best care for any other problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles. Dr. Sorelis Jimenez, DPM, Dr. John W. Fletcher, DPM, and Dr. Kamilla Danilova, DPM and the rest of the staff at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, are happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have. Check out our Ask The Doctor page for answers to frequently asked questions, and never hesitate to give us a call to talk or make an appointment at 212-845-9991.