Stress Fractures of the Foot
A stress fracture refers to thin cracks in the bones, also called hairline fractures. These fractures mostly affect the weight-bearing bones and occur as a result of repeated or excessive stress, as opposed to regular fractures that result from a single severe impact.
In the foot the most common sites of stress fractures are the metatarsal bones, which are five small bones located in the mid part of the foot. Mostly, the second and third metatarsals are involved, in addition the heel bone (calcaneus) and navicular bone (a small bone located in front of the inner part of the ankle) may also be involved.
A stress fracture is categorised as an overuse injury. Whenever the body is subjected to unusual stresses or to the usual stresses to an unusually excessive degree, the muscles become tired and less flexible. As muscles are attached to bones, when they become stiff they lose their ability to absorb the shock of the impact, which is then transferred to the bones.
The resulting bone trauma usually heals as a result of the normal regenerating capacity of the bones, however this requires a sufficient recovery period. When the bones are exposed to repeated stress without giving them time to recover, the continued trauma results in a stress fracture. It is an incomplete fracture, which weakens the bone and, when left untreated, may lead to a complete fracture.
Female athletes are more prone to developing stress fractures as a result of osteoporosis, irregular menstrual cycles and eating disorders that all weaken the bones.
Athletes, especially runners, gymnasts, and players of other high impact sports such as basketball, volley ball, tennis, etc, dancers and military people are all at increased risk of developing stress fractures of the foot. Stress fractures are also common in less active people who suddenly take on a vigorous exercise regime.
The symptoms and history are important in diagnosing the condition. Stress fractures cannot be located easily on X-rays; an MRI or a bone scan is usually advised.
In the initial stages, the best treatment is to give the bone sufficient time to rest. Do not ignore the pain. The more you delay the treatment the more delayed will be the healing.
- if you suspect a stress fracture, immediately stop whatever activity is causing the pain
- apply an ice pack and elevate the foot above your heart level to help control the swelling and pain
- consult a physician soon as possible
- control any over-pronation of the foot with an orthotic
Orthotics that will help to treat and prevent stress fractures of the foot can be found below.
THE KEY STEPS TO GETTING THE RIGHT SIZE DOCPODS:
FULL LENGTH INSOLES
NON FULL LENGTH INSOLES
|1. Measure your existing shoe insole:
|| 1. Measure from your heel to ball of foot:
2. Then compare your measurements from above to match the product size charts below:
|US MENS||4.5 - 9||9 - 13|
|US WOMENS||6 - 10||10 - 14|