When you think of the term fracture, you typically think of a single traumatic event which lead to a broken bone, but this is not always the case. Fractures that occur over time with repetitive stress are called Stress Fractures. I see stress fractures as a source of pain and discomfort quite regularly. A stress fracture begins with the overuse or the over training of a muscle. This overuse causes the muscle to tire and transfers stress on to nearby bones, causing tiny fractures. Studies have shown that the repeated pounding of the foot on hard surfaces involved in long distance running is a leading cause of stress fractures. Stress fractures can also occur from the everyday rigors, such as work, that our feet endure. Stress fractures typically only require rest and immobilization to heal.
For more complicated fractures, such as displaced broken bones, recovery could require surgery and a little longer time off of your feet. Treatment protocols can usually be determined by in office x rays. Once we determine that there is a fractured bone, we can determine how severe that it is. In any fracture, bone requires at least 6-8 weeks to heal.
Symptoms of Stress Fractures:
Treatment Depends on Fracture:
- "RICE" Therapy
- Immobilization in a Fracture walking boot or cast
- Possible surgery