Would you trust a structure that had cracks in the support beams? Probably not, because you know that the splits, even if they start small, make the whole thing less stable and more likely to fall. This can happen in your body, too. When your main structure—your skeleton—suffers injures like stress fractures, it is weaker and not able to support itself as well. This is especially true when the problem is in your body’s foundation: your feet and ankles.

Xray of injured foot

Cracks in the Foundation

Stress fractures are small cracks in your bones. They appear when the bones are under extra stress, typically from overuse, and aren’t able to support the weight. For that reason, they are a common problem in your feet, especially with athletes involved in high-impact sports like running. When your supporting structures, such as the muscles and connective tissues, become fatigued, the bones are less supported and crack under the strain. These fissures can easily become full breaks if the pressure on the bones isn’t relieved and the structures aren’t allowed to heal.

Usually the pain from a stress fracture develops over time, increasing with activities that keep you on your feet and decreasing with rest. The more severe the crack becomes, the more even daily activities will become uncomfortable. You may also experience swelling, tenderness, and bruising around the affected area.

Relieve the Stress, Treat the Fracture

Rest and time to heal are the most important aspects of your treatment plan, but for the most accurate remedies, you will need to know the severity of your injury. The experts at Absolute Foot Care Specialists will examine your foot and use x-rays or other imaging technology to determine the exact location and extent of the crack. Once that has been established, the physicians can help develop the most effective treatment plan possible. The swelling will need to be reduced, so icing the area and taking any anti-inflammatory medications our podiatrists prescribe will help. Your foot may need to be immobilized in a protective boot or even a cast as you heal. If the condition is severe, or seems to recur repeatedly in the same area, you may need surgery to repair and support the bone.

When you’ve recovered sufficiently and Dr. Noah Levine is confident you can return to your activities, start slowly. Work your way back to your normal exercise levels by increasing your time spent and intensity on any given activity over an extended period of time, making sure to give your feet time to rest and recover afterwards.

Avoiding a Break

Preventing stress fractures

Since these cracks are the result of an overuse injury, they can be prevented. Usually they occur when you have changed something in your activity, whether that is starting a new exercise, a sudden increase in intensity, or wearing bad or worn shoes that don’t support your feet. Addressing these factors can help you avoid an injury. Condition your feet to handle the strain by starting it slowly and increasing it over time. Cross-train your muscles as well by doing both high and low impact exercises—this gives your feet a chance to rest while still working your body. If your shoes are harming rather than helping your feet, replace them in favor of ones that support your bones and cushion your footfalls.

Stress fractures can start small, but they quickly become an inhibiting problem. They restrict your ability to use your feet effectively because of the pain and put you at risk for larger breaks that will require a much longer and more involved healing process. If you think you have a stress fracture in your foot or ankle, don’t wait until the bone breaks completely to seek help. Contact Absolute Foot Care Specialists in Las Vegas to confront your pain and begin your recovery today. You can reach us by visiting the website’s contact page, or by calling (702) 839- 2010.