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How to Prevent Stress Fracture Complications

How to Prevent Stress Fracture Complications

Stress fractures affect bones in your body that bear a lot of regular pressure and strain. The bones in your feet and ankles are some of the most vulnerable when it comes to stress fractures. These bones support your whole body weight regularly. And if you play sports or participate in lots of physical activity, you put your feet and ankles through additional stress.

It’s important to seek the right care for a stress fracture or you could find yourself dealing with complications like chronic foot pain or ankle instability in the future. Experienced podiatrist Dr. Leonard Greenwald diagnoses and treats stress fractures and other sports injuries in patients of all ages at his practice in San Jose, California.

Here’s what Dr. Greenwald wants you to know about preventing stress fracture complications.

Symptoms and signs you have a stress fracture

In the very first stages of a stress fracture, the surface of your bone experiences the stress reaction of inflammation. Then your bone starts to bruise. Once the bruise deepens, your bone becomes weak enough to fracture.

It’s common to experience stress fractures in the metatarsal bones that connect your toes to your ankle and heel. You can also suffer a stress fracture of your heel bone, known as the calcaneus. If you don’t heal correctly, these parts of your body are at increased risk of injury. Stress fractures can also continue to worsen without treatment.

You may not realize right away that you have a fracture. Stress fractures don’t necessarily involve dramatic, immediate symptoms like bones broken in a single accident. Instead, hairline cracks start to form on the parts of your bones that are bearing too much load, and they worsen over time.

You have a higher risk of stress fractures if you compete in sports or do a lot of very physical work. Watch out for warning signs and symptoms of a stress fracture such as pain, swelling, or localized pain and tenderness near a particular bone.

Stress fracture pain often feels worse after physical activity. However, it’s also a potential sign of a stress fracture when your pain doesn’t improve after stopping activity and remains notable when you’re resting.

The right treatment for your stress fracture

Since stress fractures are typically an overuse injury, it’s important to recover fully and correctly. Otherwise, the fracture could reappear or become more complex and harder to treat.

To lower your risk of reinjury, seek medical care if you think you might have a stress fracture. Dr. Greenwald confirms the location of your stress fracture and its severity using diagnostic tests including X-rays. Then it’s time to put together your customized treatment plan, designed to help your bone fully and completely heal.

Your treatment plan might include:

You need to follow your treatment plan in order to minimize your risks of future complications from your stress fracture. Surgery for internal fixation isn’t typically needed for stress fractures but may be required if your healing isn’t proceeding properly.

Putting too much pressure on a healing stress fracture too soon can cause complications. Talk to Dr. Greenwald about the activity levels you should target at different points of your healing journey. Low-impact physical activities and supportive footwear can help you get active while still supporting your healing stress fracture.

For expert advice, diagnosis, and treatment for stress fractures, get in touch with Dr. Greenwald today. Schedule your appointment online or over the phone.

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