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What is a stress fracture?

Stress fractures of the foot and ankle are small cracks or breaks in the bones caused by repetitive stress or overuse. These fractures are common in the legs and feet. That's because your legs and feet have to support your weight and absorb the forces of walking, running and jumping.They are common in athletes and other individuals who engage in activities that involve running, jumping, or other high-impact movements.


What causes stress fractures?

Stress fractures can happen if you suddenly increase a high-impact activity. Walking or running for a much longer distance than you normally do can be a cause.. You can develop stress fractures if you switch from a soft surface to a hard or uneven one. They can happen if you don't wear the proper shoes, or if you have poor training techniques. 

Stress fractures typically occur when the muscles become fatigued and can no longer absorb the shock of repeated impacts. This places excessive stress on the bones, causing them to develop small cracks or fractures. Stress fractures can occur in any bone in the foot or ankle, but are most commonly found in the metatarsals, the long bones of the foot that connect the toes to the ankle.

Your risk could also be higher if you have weak bones because of a medical condition or because of a medication you take. 


What are the symptoms of a stress fracture?

The symptoms of stress fractures can include pain, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area. The pain may be mild at first and gradually worsen over time. Stress fractures may also cause a dull ache that is felt during or after activity. In some cases, stress fractures may cause a noticeable limp or difficulty with weight-bearing.


What is the treatment for a stress fracture?

Treatment options for stress fractures of the foot and ankle typically involve rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling. In some cases, a cast or walking boot may be necessary to immobilize the affected area and promote healing. Physical therapy may also be recommended to help improve strength and flexibility in the affected foot or ankle. It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have a stress fracture, as early treatment can help prevent the injury from worsening and potentially causing long-term damage.

The animation content provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any specific questions you may have regarding a medical condition or procedure.