Stress Fractures In Your Feet


We all know what  fractures  are. Many of you have probably  fractured  a  bone  or two in your lives. You jump off a high structure or you get in wrestling match with your brother and next thing you know, you have to go to the hospital because you broke a bone. The use of the term “stress” when pertaining to a  fracture  may be puzzling for some. The common statement heard by podiatrists is: “I do not recall any serious pain to my foot”. While they may not recall any specific traumatic event causing the  fracture , the patient indeed suffered trauma significant enough to cause a  fracture , it just wasn’t the type of “trauma” everyone thinks of when discussing  fractures .

A stress  fracture  is a very small  fracture  in a  bone , and is sometimes referred to as a “hairline  fracture “. With over two-hundred  bones  in your body, a  fracture  can occur nearly anywhere but stress  fractures  are most prevalent in the foot. This is because the feet bear the weight of the entire body. Often times, stress  fractures  are related to “overuse”, usually resulting from sports, overtraining, or sudden increases in activity without proper conditioning. Athletes playing football, soccer, baseball or any intense sport can develop a stress  fracture . The principle of repeatedly hitting or stomping your foot on the same general spot will increase your chances of developing a stress  fracture .

A typical activity is working out on the treadmill (a.k.a. the dreadmill). As you are doing your workout on the treadmill, you’re constantly hard stepping your feet again and again–which is more intense when there is an incline and you go for a long duration. You can easily get a foot stress  fracture  this way. A way to reduce the chances of a stress  fracture  is to simulate running outside by trying the incline and the speed of the treadmill. This way you’ll constantly be adjusting how your foot strikes the ground, which dampens the stress placed on any one spot in the foot.

Due to osteoporosis, women are more prone to stress  fractures  than men. This is compounded by two other common conditions in women: eating disorders and irregular menstrual cycles. The two symptoms can add to the building up of osteoporosis, which is not only a condition for elderly women but can occur in early on. Now, this is not to say men aren’t also susceptible to stress  fractures , because they can get them, it’s just important for women to be aware of the increased risk of stress  fractures .

The long  bones  in the foot that go from the middle of the foot to the toes (a.k.a. the metatarsals) is the most frequent spot for a stress  fracture  in the foot. The heel or the location known as the navicular (which is on top of the midfoot) can also experience a stress  fracture . Due to an insufficient amount of blood flow, the  fractures  in this  bone  are not easy or fast to cure.

Some common symptoms you may experience should you suffer a stress  fracture  are pain that starts gradually, gets worse with weight-bearing activities and slowly gets better with rest, possible swelling, tenderness to touch and possible bruising.