Stress Fracture—What do you do?
Your feet are the foundation of everything you do, especially in sports. Whether you play team sports such as soccer or football, or participate in solo sports such as track, the health of your feet is key to playing the best game or giving your best performance possible. A podiatrist specializes in injuries or disorders of the feet, and consulting with a podiatrist regarding any problems or pain can only improve your game and keep you in the game instead of sidelined with acute or chronic injuries—such as ankle sprains and fracture—that may require surgery.
Stress fractures on the other hand are usually caused by overtraining and repeated stress on a hard surface over a period of time. Most stress fractures occur in the bones in the front of the foot that attach to the toes, the metatarsal bones. The best way to treat a stress fracture is rest. This usually means taking an extended time out—usually six to eight weeks—from your routine sport to allow the bone to heal. Failing to provide an adequate amount of time for the fracture to repair itself could result in more persistent fractures and other serious foot problems in the future. It is often difficult to differentiate between a sprained ankle and a stress fracture, and an x-ray is typically necessary.
Proper Prevention can Keep You in the Game
Overuse, improper footwear or poor training causes most sport-related injuries. In order to help prevent these injuries from occurring:
- Stretch. Warm up properly before you exercise, run or begin playing a sport.
- Use caution. Pay attention when walking or running on an uneven surface.
- Support your feet. Wear shoes that offer adequate support for your foot and are designed for your specific sport and foot type.
- Build strength. Maintain good muscle strength and flexibility with proper stretching and exercising
- Don’t rush. Start any new exercise program slowly, and progress gradually. Don't exercise too hard or too long.
- Play it safe. If you experience pain, remember to rest. Never ignore symptoms and signs of an injury.