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Recognizing the Signs of a Stress Fracture

Living an active life is important for health and longevity. Whether you’re training for a marathon, or simply taking daily walks, your feet do the brunt of the work. This is why it’s crucial that you take care of them and pay attention to how they’re feeling, both before and after activity.

It’s not uncommon to experience some kind of foot trauma at one point or another, especially if you’re active. If you begin to notice pain, discomfort, or other abnormal feelings in your feet, you may have sustained an injury called a stress fracture. Our health professionals at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle, with offices in Decatur and Roanoke, Texas, want you to be able to recognize the signs of a stress fracture so that you can seek treatment right away.

What is a stress fracture?

A stress fracture is a tiny crack that most commonly occurs in the weight-bearing bones of your body, like those in your lower legs and feet. In your feet, your second and third metatarsals are the most likely to sustain this kind of injury. Early on, this injury is referred to as a stress reaction, which is similar to a deep bone bruise. If left untreated, that stress reaction develops into a stress fracture.

What kind of activity causes a stress fracture?

Trauma and overuse are the main causes of stress fractures. Anyone can develop this injury, but athletes are at the highest risk. This is because their feet are constantly absorbing shock from running long distances or repetitive jumping.

Improper training or technique, sudden change in the surface you normally exercise on, a rapid increase in volume or intensity of activity, and improper footwear are also culprits. When training or participating in sports, be sure to pay attention to your technique and intensity in order to avoid putting too much stress on your feet at one time. Another important point is to make sure you’re resting and getting enough calories to support the volume of activity you’re doing.

Signs of a stress fracture

Since stress fractures often begin as stress reactions, you may only notice some tenderness in your foot at the start. Usually, that tenderness occurs in a specific spot and decreases while you’re resting. As the fracture develops, other symptoms arise, such as:

In some cases, the fractured bone may move out of proper alignment. Pain can vary from moderate to severe, and can worsen over time. Swift treatment is critical to preventing displacement and persistent pain, as well as getting you on the right track for healing.

The best way to determine if you have a stress fracture is by being diagnosed by a health care professional. When you come in for an appointment with Samantha Childers, DPM or Ricky Childers, DPM, your injury is quickly examined, diagnosed, and on its way to recovery. Don’t wait until your pain is severe. Give one of our offices a call today, or request an appointment online.

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