Management of stress fractures of the foot
Stress fractures are small cracks or severe bruising within a bone. Stress fractures are due to overuse and repetitive activity which are usually common among people participating in running sports such as basketball and soccer.
A stress fracture can also develop if there are changes in a new exercise, sudden increase in the intensity of the workouts or changes in the surface of the workout such as jogging on a treadmill and then outdoors. Sometimes, osteoarthritis and other diseases can cause weakening of the bones and performing regular activities can cause a stress fracture.
The weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot are susceptible to stress fractures due to the repetitive forces absorbed during running, walking and jumping.
Causes of stress fracture on the foot
- Stress fracture on the foot can be caused by a sudden increase in physical activities such as excessively performing exercises every week and running long distances.
- Walking infrequently on a day to day basis and suddenly excessively walking on uneven surfaces while on vacation can increase the risk for a stress fracture.
- Wearing shoes that cause diminished ability of the foot in absorbing repetitive forces.
- Conditions that lessen the strength and density of the bones such as osteoporosis and taking long-term medications.
- Poor conditioning of the muscles
- Anything that changes the mechanics on how the foot absorbs the impact when it strikes the ground increases the risk. If suffering from bunion, blisters and tendonitis, it affects how an individual places weight on the foot when running or walking which require an area in the bone to bear the weight and pressure.
- Changes in training and playing surfaces
- Wearing worn out shoes
- Pain worsens during normal and daily activities
- Pain is lessened during resting
- Tenderness of the affected area when touched
- Swelling on top of the foot or outside of the ankle
- Take plenty of rest and avoid any activities that place significant weight on the affected foot. If there is a need to bear weight on the area, wear a supportive shoe.
- Apply a compress immediately after the injury to minimize swelling. Apply an ice pack for at least 20 minutes at a time for several times every day. Avoid applying the ice pack directly on the skin to prevent frostbite and making the condition worse.
- Wrap a compression bandage on the affected foot to prevent swelling of the area. Gently wrap the area using a soft bandage. Avoid wrapping it too tight to prevent proper blood circulation in the area.
- Elevate the affected foot above the level of the heart. When lying down, prop the leg in a couple of pillows.
- Take the prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen to lessen the pain and swelling.
Disclaimer / More Information
The material posted on this page on stress fractures of the foot is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage fractures including stress fractures of the foot by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.