A stress fracture is a small crack that appears in a bone, commonly as a result of repetitive stress and overuse, often found in runners and athletes. Stress fractures occur when the bones and supporting muscles are not given enough time to heal between activities and become weakened. The weight bearing bones in the lower limb are particularly at risk of this condition due to the forces put through them during walking, jumping and running.
Stress fractures mainly occur due to overuse activities, but can occur due to systemic conditions.
Those who are just starting out exercise from nothing can get overly keen and overdo what their body can stand. This can also occur in people who may cut out their desired exercise over the winter months, then try to pick up where they left off rather than starting with a gradual increase.
For example, someone who is used to running on soft surfaces, indoor running tracks or treadmills makes a sudden change to hard outdoor running without a gradual change over.
Unsuitable or worn out footwear that don’t provide adequate support and cushioning to can contribute towards stress fracture.
A condition where the bones are less dense, bone density reduces with but can also be a condition found in younger adults. Those with osteoporosis are predispose to acute and stress fractures in daily life activities.
A high arched foot can be a foot that lacks flexibility and stays rigid throughout stance. This can mean the natural shock absorbing properties of the foot are reduced.
Signs that someone may have a stress fracture are usually a history of rapid increase in exercise or activity. The most common location for a stress fractures is in the second metatarsal (the long bone in the foot leading up to the second toe) this is because it is often longer but thinner than the first metatarsal. Other common sites are the heel bone (calcaneus) and the navicular (within the arch).
The signs and symptoms may include:
If you have a stress fracture in the foot or lower limb, you may benefit from podiatry intervention.
Your podiatrist will first obtain from you a thorough medical and social history, as well as a history of the problem. The history along with an examination of the area affected will help the podiatrist come to a diagnosis. If poor biomechanics are the problem then you may be referred for a biomechanical assessment.
If you do have a stress fracture treatment may include:
If you have a problem with your foot or lower limb, and you are unsure whether or not podiatry can help you, then why not contact us. If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment then please email us at email@example.com or call us on 0151 558 0099.
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