What is a stress fracture and how to manage it?
Stress fractures are miniature breaks in the bone triggered by monotonous use of force, overuse during activities such as repetitively jumping up and down or running. It is important to note that stress fractures are likely to occur from daily use of bone that is only debilitated by a condition like osteoporosis.
Stress fractures are common in the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. Susceptible to stress fractures are track and field athletes but anybody can also experience a stress fracture. If you want to learn how to care for this injury, click here.
Symptoms of stress fractures
Pain caused by stress fracture can be barely noticed but it can worsen over time. There is swelling found around the tender areas and the pain becomes more severe when pressure is applied on the affected foot. Swelling can also happen on the top of the foot and ankle. The foot is tender to touch at the area of the fracture and can even bruise.
Causes of stress fractures
There are several factors that can cause a stress fracture in a foot such as an increase in physical activity especially by doing high-impact activities or an error in the technique used in training. A change in the normal routine such as an increase in the frequency or duration of the activities and wearing shoes that is already worn or stiff can cause a stress fracture and conditions where there is insufficiency of bone density such as osteoporosis.
Some stress fractures do not heal properly and can result to chronic pain. If these causes are not properly taken care of, there is a possibility of additional stress fractures.
Treatment and home remedies
- Rest the affected area until it is ready to bear normal weight.
- Apply ice compress on the affected areas in order reduce the swelling and minimize pain for 10 minutes for 3-4 times a day.
- When the stress fracture is already healed, resume activity slowly by doing non-weight bearing activities like swimming and other casual activities and resume gradually high-impact activities such as running with careful progression of time and the distance.
Preventing stress fractures
- Start a new exercise program slowly and progress in that activity gradually.
- Wear shoes that fit properly and appropriate for the activity. If the person has flat feet, seek a doctor’s advice about arch support for shoes.
- Perform low-impact activities in order to avoid repetitively stressing any part of the body.
- In order to keep the bones strong, the diet should include plenty of calcium and other nutrients.
Some vitamins for stress fractures
Calcium plays an important role in regulating blood pressure and it is the most common mineral in the body. Taking calcium supplements can help in the prevention of bone loss and help speed up healing of the fractures.
When taking Vitamin D, it transforms in body into calcitriol which is a hormone that helps the body absorb more calcium.