It's easy to ignore foot pain after a long day of athletic activity, but the pain could be a sign of a serious problem. Stress fractures, also called hairline fractures, make up as many as 20% of all athletic injuries, and 80% of them are in the feet or legs. Here's what you need to know about this injury.
How do you get stress fractures of the feet?
Stress fractures are caused by putting too much stress on the bones in your feet. This can happen if you exercise too often without giving your body a chance to heal itself between workouts, or if you throw yourself into a new sport instead of slowly easing into it.
What sports have the highest risk?
You can get a stress fracture during any athletic activity, but some carry a higher risk than others. Sports that involve a lot of running or jumping put more stress on the bones in your feet and increase your risk of getting a stress fracture. For example, if you're a marathon runner, track and field athlete, or a basketball player, you're more likely to get a stress fracture in your foot than a cyclist or a swimmer is.
What conditions are associated with stress fractures?
Stress fractures can be associated with other health problems, including osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that makes your bones lose mass and density; this makes them more likely to break under stress. Endurance training is a risk factor for osteoporosis, so athletes with recurrent stress fractures should get a bone density scan.
How is it treated?
To heal the stress fracture in your foot, you'll need to rest. This means staying away from your favorite sports until your podiatrist tells you that it's alright to resume the activity. You'll need to avoid putting any weight on your foot unless it's completely necessary, so you'll be living the life of a couch potato until your foot is better.
A cast may be necessary to hold your bones in place while the crack heals. Your podiatrist may also recommend wearing specially made shoes or using orthotic devices to support your foot. Surgery is only necessary in very severe cases.
What happens if it's not treated?
If you play through the pain instead of seeking treatment, you could cause serious damage to your foot. The crack in your bone can turn into a full fracture, and that will keep you away from your favorite sports for even longer.
Stress fractures of the feet are a common problem for athletes. If your feet hurt while playing sports, make an appointment at a practice like Elmhurst Podiatry Center Ltd.Share
8 June 2015
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