One of the most frequent overuse injuries associated with exercise and sports is a stress fracture. Even while stress fractures are frequently seen in sports, they can happen to anybody who engages in high-impact or repetitive activities. Overuse injuries make up nearly half of all sports-related injuries.
Your foot may develop a stress fracture as a result of movements that repeatedly put stress on the damaged bone. A stress fracture, also known as a hairline crack, develops in the bone as a result of increased pressure. The crack may deepen over time if nothing is done to repair it or if your activities are changed to allow the bone to mend.
ONE WHO IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO A STRESS FRACTURE
A stress fracture begins with a little hairline fissure in the bone, which causes gradual, non-distinct discomfort as opposed to acute bone fractures, which develop as a result of an event and cause abrupt, intense pain.
The lower limbs and feet are particularly susceptible to stress fractures, making runners, dancers, soccer players, and basketball players the most susceptible athletes.
This is especially true for these athletes when their training is substantially intensified—like when they switch to new shoes or a new running surface—or varied, such as when they do longer or more frequent workouts in order to prepare for a race or event.
SYMPTOMS OF STRESS FRACTURES
Understanding the symptoms of a stress fracture is crucial. They can worsen and perhaps permanently sideline an athlete if they go unnoticed and untreated.
Keep an eye out for these signs of a stress fracture :
- Deep, stabbing pain in a joint or limb
- Dull discomfort that develops with exercise (and occasionally in the middle of it), then goes away with rest
- Aching pain that gradually worsens and begins to occur outside of activities.
- Pain that is more severe in the evening or at night
- Around a week after increasing training or intensity, the pain will begin.
- Performance decline or weakness in the impacted area.
WHAT CAUSES STRESS FRACTURES?
Stress fractures develop over time rather than as a result of an injury or accident. Running, basketball, tennis, and other high-impact sports, as well as track and field, entail repetitive actions that increase the risk of stress fractures.
If you’ve made sudden changes in your activities, you may be dealing with a stress fracture. This might happen when you abruptly increase the frequency, amount of days, or sort of activities you engage in. It can also happen when you go from one activity to another.
Using a new workout surface, such as switching from a treadmill to outdoor running, might alter how much weight you place on each foot and increase your risk of developing stress fractures. Other behaviors, such as utilizing inappropriate gear or donning unsuitable footwear, might put pressure on places that cannot withstand repeated stresses.
Some physical variables can also raise your risk of having a stress fracture. Your bones may be especially susceptible to additional stress from repetitive motions if you are overweight or have medical disorders like osteoporosis.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A STRESS FRACTURE?
Get a proper diagnosis as soon as you can if you exhibit symptoms that are typical of a stress fracture. An imaging test, such as an X-ray, MRI, or bone scan, is necessary to precisely diagnose the site and degree of a stress fracture.
A stress fracture can progress and turn into a full fracture without adequate diagnosis and treatment, resulting in more severe pain and perhaps even displacement of the damaged bone. Long-term harm or the requirement for surgical repair may result from this.
To lessen the weight-bearing load on the injured foot as part of stress fracture treatment you need to adopt the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) to give your bone enough time to recover.
Your doctor suggests you some painkillers as needed to lessen discomfort and swelling. Crutches, a brace, or a walking boot may also be required to immobilize the injured bone and aid in recovery.