Ankle and Foot Stress Fractures

Stephen D. Lasday, DPM Foot Pain, Podiatrist Sarasota and Bradenton

Stress fractures of the Feet and AnklesWe hear the message “you need to reduce the stress in your life” all the time! It’s true—we do! I would also like to add you  need to reduce the “stress” in your feet and ankles as well, stress fractures that is…

What is a Stress Fracture?

A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone. They typically develop from overuse. High-impact sports like running and basketball see stress fractures quite a bit, as well as tennis or dance. Really, any activity that repeatedly “strikes” the foot against the ground can cause a stress fracture.  More specifically, when the muscles in the foot or lower leg get overtired, they’re unable to lessen the shock of the repeated impacts. The muscles then transfer the stress to the bone, thereby creating a small crack or fracture.

Where Do Stress Fractures Occur?

Stress fractures normally occur in the weight-bearing bones of the foot and lower leg.  The most common sites are the second and third metatarsals of the foot. Stress fractures are also common in the heel (calcaneus), the outer bone of the lower leg (fibula), and the navicular, a bone on the top of the midfoot.

People who do not exercise can also have stress fractures. Individuals who have osteoporosis or anyone taking medication that decreases bone density is susceptible to stress fractures.

Symptoms of a Stress Fracture

Symptoms include the following: 
  • Pain that develops gradually, increases with weight-bearing activity, and diminishes with rest
  • Pain that becomes more severe and occurs during normal, daily activities
  • Swelling on the top of the foot or the outside of the ankle
  • Tenderness to touch at the site of the fracture
  • Possible bruising

Getting Checked Out for Stress Fractures

If you think you have a stress fracture, you should see your podiatrist. Putting off a trip to the doctor is not a good idea; the fracture could worsen and possibly turn into a more severe or chronic problem.  An examination for a stress fracture is typically comprised of taking a patient’s work, exercise, and medical history, as well as a thorough examination of the foot or ankle in question. A bone scan or MRI may be ordered to aid in diagnosis. 

If you have a stress fracture, there are several ways to treat it. I’ll cover these treatment options next week.

If you or a loved one are experiencing pain related to stress fractures or heel problems, Sarasota or Bradenton is the place to be! Please schedule an appointment with Dr. Lasday, Dr. Zdancewicz, or Dr. Goecker for a thorough and professional evaluation, either in our Bradenton Podiatry office at (941) 753-9599 or our Sarasota Podiatry office at (941) 366-2627.

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