A stress fracture occurs due to an overuse injury of a bone. It commonly develops in the weight bearing bones of the lower leg and foot.
Stress fractures are caused by a rapid increase in the intensity of exercise. They can also be caused by impact on a hard surfac and increased physical activity. Athletes participating in certain sports such as basketball, tennis or gymnastics are at a greater risk of developing stress fractures. An athlete with inadequate rest between workouts can also develop stress fracture.
The most common symptom is pain in the foot which usually gets worse during exercises and decreases upon resting. Swelling, bruising, and tenderness may also occur at a specific point.
Your doctor will diagnosis the condition with a thorough history and exam of the foot and ankle. Diagnostic tests such as X-ray, MRI or bone scan may be required to confirm the fracture.
Stress fractures are usually treated non surgically with rest and limiting the physical activities that involves foot and ankle. Your doctor may use a cast or brace in the treatment of the injury. Crutches may also be used to aid in treatment.
Surgery may be required if the fracture does not heal with non-surgical treatment.