Stress Fracture Feet
Article by Shane Armfield
What is a Stress Fracture?
Stress fractures are tiny cracks in a bone. They develop over a period of time and cause pain. The pain is quite distinctive getting worse as you do more weight bearing activity such as running or jumping. The foot is a common area for getting stress fractures and there are a number of bones that are at risk.
What Causes a Stress Fracture?
Stress fractures are caused by the repetitive application of force, often by overuse — such as repeatedly jumping up and down or running long distances.
Track and field athletes are particularly susceptible to stress fractures, but anyone can experience a stress fracture. If you have increased your weight bearing exercise suddenly you can be susceptible to getting a stress fracture, It can be a debilitating problem that can stop you from doing any weight bearing exercise.
What is the Treatment for Stress Fractures Feet?
PHASE I - Pain Relief. Minimise Swelling & Injury Protection
Pain is the main reason that you seek treatment for a stress fracture. Analgesics may help. The pain is best eased via ice therapy and techniques that deload the inflamed structures. Anti-inflammatory medications may help.
Your physiotherapist will use an array of treatment tools to reduce your pain and inflammation. These include: ice, electrotherapy, acupuncture, deloading taping techniques and soft tissue massage.
If the pain is particularly bad you may be advised to use crutches and or a walking boot.
PHASE II - Restoring Normal Weight Bearing
As your pain and inflammation settles, your physiotherapist will turn their attention to getting you back into exercise. This needs to be carefully managed as an uncontrolled increase in weight bearing will just exacerbate the stress fracture.
Treatment may include massage, muscle and joint stretches, taping, or the use of an orthotic. Your physiotherapist is an expert in the techniques that will work best for you.
PHASE III - Restore Normal Muscle Control & Strength
Your foot posture muscles are vital to correct the biomechanics that can lead to the increased stresses within your foot. Your physiotherapist will assess your foot posture muscles and prescribe the best exercises for you specific to your needs.
PhysioWorks has developed a “Foot Posture Correction Program” to assist you to regain your normal foot posture. Please ask your physio for their advice.
PHASE IV - Restoring Full Function
During this stage of your rehabilitation is aimed at returning you to your desired activities. Everyone has different demands for their feet that will determine what specific treatment goals you need to achieve. For some it be simply to walk around the block. Others may wish to run a marathon or return to a labour-intensive activity.
Your physiotherapist will tailor your rehabilitation to help you achieve your own functional goals.
PHASE V - Preventing a Recurrence
To prevent future stress fractures you physiotherapist will talk to you about graded increases in exercise. You may also benefit from seeing our Dietitian to advise you on good nutrition whilst training.
Your physiotherapist will guide you.
If you have any concerns or have some specific questions regarding your condition, please ask your physiotherapist.
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