Auteur: Podiatre Montreal
What are the symptoms of a stress fracture?
A stress fracture, also known as a fatigue fracture, is an injury caused by overloading bone tissue. It develops as a result of repetitive loads, which counteract the shock absorption capacity of the affected muscle and bone tissue. It is therefore the small cracks that are generated that progressively develop the fracture.
Stress fracture of the ankle and heel is possible, but the most common stress fracture in the clinic is the stress fracture of the foot, observed in the metatarsal area (medial area of the foot).
Here are some symptoms of a fatigue fracture of the foot
- Atypical and intermittent pain
- Pain that wakes up after prolonged or intensive exercise and suddenly disappears shortly after exercise is stopped.
- Localized pain at the time of the setting in support
- Gradually increasing pain
What factors can cause stress fractures of the foot?
Stress fracture of the foot is more common in athletes, but can also be observed in other cases. For example, a stress fracture of the toe, foot or ankle may be diagnosed in an older client population. A fatigue fracture caused by osteoporosis is a good example of cases diagnosed in the elderly. In general, in the more at-risk clientele (athletes), contributing factors are implicated.
- Over-exertion in sports
- Extreme repetitive movements
- Poorly-adapted food
- Joint stresses that cause over-compensation in the foot area
- Neglected sport physical preparation
In women, stress fractures of the ankle, heel, or fatigue fracture of the foot can be caused by other factors. Since a woman’s hormonal cycle plays on her mineral reserves, the flexibility and resistance of muscle and bone tissue can be compromised. This is what makes this clientele periodically more vulnerable, not to mention that these same factors also play a role in the healing time of a stress fracture of the foot.
Diagnosis of the stress fracture
During the clinical examination, the doctor will carefully palpate the area of pain, looking for bone swelling. If the pain intensifies, especially with small local percussions, the doctor will push his examination further to rule out other causes and better align his diagnosis in favour of the fatigue fracture of the foot.
Other criteria, such as finding the predisposing context, possible nutrient deficiency, regular practice of a sport and lifestyle will also be raised.
Treatment of stress fractures
Generally, the prognosis for stress fractures of the foot is favorable and surgery is rarely considered.
The usual treatment for fatigue fractures consists of taking sports rest, applying ice locally, not forgetting the possibility of wearing a splint or an adapted orthosis. Depending on the case, the use of crutches or the installation of a cast may be suggested.
Therapeutic treatments such as ongoing rehabilitation, physiotherapy and physical therapy can also be beneficial for optimal recovery. The healing time for a fatigue fracture of the foot can range from four to twelve weeks. This time is essential for substantial consolidation resulting from the treatments prescribed by the physician.
Treating the Cause
At the clinic, the cause is a factor that is systematically taken into account in the recovery of our patients. To avoid the recurrence of the stress fracture in the foot, they are offered different paths depending on the results of the examination. Here, solutions such as the prescription of orthopedic or anti-shock inserts are put forward.
Preventing foot stress
Depending on your case, different ways of preventing a stress fracture are possible. A doctor will inform you of the most effective and proven ways to prevent stress fractures of the foot, regardless of your age or current health condition :
Means of prevention
- Gradual increase in the efforts of a new sport practice
- Systematic stretching before engaging in physical activity
- Make sure you have the right equipment for the practice of a sport (shoes, soles, etc.).
- Maintain a balanced diet, adapted to your nutritional needs
If you believe you are suffering from a stress fracture, make an appointment for an evaluation in one of our clinics.2021