Repeated stress, like the continuous pounding of running, can cause a tiny break in the bone, also known as a stress fracture. The metatarsal bones, which make up The front part of the arch, are a common area for stress fractures with the second and third metatarsal‘s being affected the most often.
The pain is typically felt at a specific and localized spot usually on the top portion of the bone. Sadly, your stress fracture might not be obvious at first, which puts you at risk for making it worse. The pain may be mild at first, but it can intensify with time if you don’t take care of it.
Stress fractures take about 6 to 8 weeks to heal and are routinely treated by our expert doctors at our Advanced Podiatry offices with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest is key here: ice and NSAID medication may assist in early days, but the fastest path way to healing is through relative offloading of the fracture site. To be clear, that means no running until your doctor says so. At Advanced Podiatry we often dispense a walking boot to help take some load off the affected area. The stakes are high: a stress fracture can turn into a fracture – fracture, or full break, if you aren’t careful!
Stress Fractures and Runners
Stress fractures of the foot are becoming more common in runners, especially first time marathoners. The growing popularity of marathons among beginning runners has contributed to the increase in repetitive stress injury‘s, including stress fractures of the foot. Often, first time marathoners enter a race with little or improper long-distance training. The lack of experience coupled with the repetitive impact placed on the feet during the run can produce enough stress to cause hairline breaks in the bones of the foot, stress fractures.
Runners at all levels of experience or also at higher risk for stress fractures if they wear improper shoes while running or training, suffer from flat foot or other foot deformities, or osteoporosis. As mentioned above, signs of a stress fracture can include pain, swelling, redness, and possibly bruising of the area. Once the stress fracture is healed Custom Foot Orthotics are often prescribed by our expert doctors at Advanced Podiatry to help prevent recurrence.