Why does it always seem to be the case that when we finally get motivated enough to start exercising on regular basis, or when we have been exercising on regular basis and have finally "found our groove", we develop some pain in your body that slows us down! More often than not, this pain happens in one foot! Not both, just one. Strangest thing!
We are talking particularly about a pain in your foot that picks up when you exercise and decreases, or goes away when you rest. You try to figure out why you are having pain when you swear you did not drop a turkey on it! There is no bruising with this injury, though swelling can occur, usually after you have been on your feet for while or after exercising.
Well, you may just have a stress fracture! It does not have to hurt all the time, but you can definitely get going when you press on it!
A stress fracture is a hairline fracture in bone. It is typically caused by repetitive stress on the bone over a period of time. Bone does breakdown and build up in response to stress, but sometimes the stress being produced overwhelms the body's ability to respond to it. This is when a stress fracture occurs. We have seen stress fractures present in so many different situations, it can honestly be said that a stress fracture can happen to anyone, even if you don't exercise! Where do we go from here?
Having a stress fracture gives you the perfect excuse to rest rather than try to work through the pain. In fact, trying to work through the pain can downright convert your hairline fracture into a full-blown displaced fracture! Not a good idea! Play it smart, listen to your body and have your foot evaluated.
Oddly enough, a stress fracture is diagnosed on clinical exam, not by x-ray. In fact, the x-rays we take may not show your fracture initially since it can take almost two weeks for a hairline fracture to show up on film. The good news is that if we do not see it on x-ray, you have not converted your hairline fracture into a full-blown one and have come just in the nick of time!
In the cases where a stress fracture is diagnosed, treatment usually consists of some form of immobilization. It can take up to three to four weeks for a stress fracture to properly heal, if it is properly taken care of. And, as with most podiatric medical conditions, the sooner you are diagnosed, the quicker we can get you back up on your feet again!