A stress fracture differs from a compete fracture or broken bone in that a stress fracture is usually caused by repeated stress and motion, not by a single trauma.
Symptoms a stress fracture
Patients with a stress fracture often report:
- Pain that is worsened with increased or repetitive activities.
- Localized swelling in the area of the fracture that becomes worse with activity
- Slight burning from the swelling
- Point tenderness to pressure in the area of stress fracture
Stress Fracture Diagnosis?
Stress fractures are usually not seen on initial x-rays, but may show up over several weeks with an increased amount of bone formation as the bone heals. Sometimes an MRI or a bone scan may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
Stress fracture treatment options
Foot and ankle stress fractures are treated with non-weight bearing to the affected area, and may require crutches and a cast or cast boot until the bone heals. Often, a bone stimulator which is a non-painful machine that speeds up healing is used.
After the bone is healed, an orthotic or custom insole may be used to decrease the pressure on the fracture region and allow uniform pressure distribution across the foot and ankle.