Your bones can break in a moment of trauma like a fall or other injury. But, your bones can also weaken and even fracture due to repetitive stress. For competitive athletes, regular strains and stresses on the bones in your feet and ankles can lead to stress fractures and other sports injuries.
Stress fractures come with symptoms like pain, and left untreated can cause lasting damage to your feet and ankles, reducing stability and range of motion for the long term. Podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon Leonard Greenwald, DPM, treats new and existing patients with stress fractures from his practice in San Jose, California.
Understanding stress fractures
The bones, ligaments, and soft tissue of your feet and ankles can all suffer from stress injuries due to activities sports-related or otherwise. When you’re active, your feet and ankles have to handle stresses like jumping, stopping, and pivoting quickly. These motions can cause injuries, including stress fractures to your bones.
Sports like tennis, gymnastics, running, dance, and basketball put you at a heightened risk of stress fractures. Protective taping and plenty of warm-up time can help reduce your risk, but sooner or later, you may find yourself needing to take some time off from practice and competition to recover from a stress fracture.
Recovery after a stress fracture
You don’t want to hurry the healing of a stress fracture, as correct and complete healing is essential for the function of your feet and ankles. Here’s what Dr. Greenwald wants his patients to know about healing from a stress fracture.
Your recovery plan is designed to relieve your pain and speed full healing for your feet and ankles. If you push too hard and don’t follow your recovery plan, you might end up spending more time overall coping with the aftermath of your stress fracture injury.
Typically, stress fractures don’t require surgical treatment, reducing the overall time you’ll need for post-injury recovery. Most stress fractures need about 6-8 weeks for full healing. Depending on the nature and extent of your injury, your recovery treatment plan could include:
- Use of the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol to reduce pain and inflammation in your affected limb
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Crutches or bracing to help keep weight off your affected limb during healing
You may need to change your usual activities and routine while healing. Cycling and swimming can help you stay in condition while you recover. Dr. Greenwald works with his patients to minimize recovery time as much as possible.
To learn more about healing after a stress fracture, contact Dr. Greenwald today by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.