Overcoming Stress Fractures

Patient With Leg In Plaster CastA stress fracture may not sound as serious as a broken bone, but this injury can be equally debilitating. Consider the case of Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias, who was forced to sit out the entire 2014 season due to stress fractures in both legs. If fractures don’t heal properly, the result can be chronic pain. Proper treatment is needed to keep them from becoming an ongoing problem.

What causes stress fractures?

New bone cells are created during periods of rest, but if repeated force is applied without sufficient recovery time, the old cells are reabsorbed more quickly than they can be replaced. Eventually, tiny cracks in these overworked bones develop into stress fractures.

This injury occurs most commonly in your feet and lower legs, which are frequently subjected to bearing your entire weight. Stress fractures often affect athletes as well as individuals who suddenly begin intense activity after being sedentary. People with osteoporosis can develop stress fractures from normal activity.

Treating a stress fracture

It takes time for bones to heal, so rest is a major requirement. Keep weight off the affected body part until your orthopedic doctor advises that it has sufficiently recovered. You may sometimes need to use a walking boot or crutches to reduce stress on the injured bones. Elevating your foot or limb and applying ice packs three to four times a day can help to promote healing and reduce swelling. 

After recovery, begin with low-impact activities such as swimming. Running and other high-impact workouts should be resumed gradually, starting with shorter durations and slowly adding time and distance. Alternate activities to allow for adequate rest periods. Use of supportive footwear can help to prevent stress fractures from reoccurring. 

Don’t let a stress fracture keep you on the sidelines. Our experienced orthopedic doctors will work with you to develop a treatment plan for safe and effective healing. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

 

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