Treating Stress Fractures

Stress fractures in the feet, tiny surface cracks in the bone, can be a puzzling ailment to patients. They may feel pain in the front of their foot, somewhere between the toes and middle of the foot, but it comes and goes. As time goes on, the connection is made that the pain is worse when standing or walking or doing any athletic activities and better with rest. There may some swelling or bruising on either the top or the bottom of the foot.

Who Gets Stress Fractures?

At Great Neck Family Foot Care, we often see stress fractures in athletes. Suddenly increasing the length or speed of a workout routine, changing playing surfaces, or having poor training techniques or improper footwear are all possible causes of stress fractures. However, non-athletic patients get stress fractures too, particularly those who have osteoporosis or another disease that weakens the bones. Sometimes even changing your favorite pair of shoes may mean less shock absorption in the forefoot and can result in a stress fracture.

Treatment

It usually takes 6-8 months for a stress fracture to completely heal. Our board certified foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Alec Hochstein and Dr. Diana Gagliano will determine the best plan for treating your fracture. There are a number of non-surgical methods of treatment including:

  • Casting—depending on the location and severity of the fracture, a foot cast may be necessary to ensure that your bones stay in the correct position to heal.
  • Changing footwear—shoes designed with a fracture brace, wooded-soled sandals or other stiff-soled shoes may be recommended to limit stress to the foot.
  • Modifying activities—during the healing period you will not be able to participate in activities that put pressure on your foot. You can ask the podiatrist about alternative activities such as swimming, but don’t resume any exercise activities, even low-impact ones, without your foot doctor’s approval.

In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary.

Stress fractures do not have to be a major medical issue if treated early and allowed to heal completely and properly. If you are concerned that you may have a stress fracture in your foot, contact our Great Neck office today for an appointment or, if you are unable to get to us, we’ll come to you—ask about a house visit.