Dealing With Stress Fractures In The Legs And Feet


If you run, walk or stand for long periods of time, then you are probably no stranger to foot or leg pain. If you're often engaged in vigorous athletic activity, such as running for competition or long-distance hiking, then you are putting a lot of pressure on these bones and could experience a foot or leg fracture if you're not careful.

What are stress fractures?

Stress fractures are tiny fractures (sometimes called "hairline" fractures) commonly caused by overuse. They can also easily happen to people with bone density issues even when they're not exercising. In the feet, they're the most common in the metatarsals, the bones that make up the middle of the foot just above the toes, but below the ankles. Some people also have stress fractures in their tibia, or shin bone. Sometimes, stress fractures won't show up on x-rays when they're new, so they may go undiscovered for a long time.

What are the symptoms of a stress fracture?

Many of the initial symptoms of a stress fractures in the foot or leg are also the same as those of other issues, which can make diagnosis difficult without an x-ray. Generally, if you have a fracture in your metatarsals, the pain will be in the center of the foot either on the top or the bottom. Some people experience pain around the heel and arch as well. Pain in the lower legs can happen along any of its length from knee to ankle. The amount of pain alone doesn't necessarily indicate a fracture as some people may feel little pain with this problem. Generally, fractures take a while to heal, so pain will continue for a long time despite rest. The common misconception about being able to move one's toes has no basis in whether or not you have fractures.

How can stress fractures be prevented?

For most people who exercise, training gradually will help reduce the chance for stress fractures. Be sure to wear proper footwear and try to train over softer surfaces if possible. If you don't usually do exercise, try not do take on a lot of activities that involve standing or walking all at once. Have your bone density checked and see your physician or a company like Ultimate Sports as often as necessary. Some people, such as those with diabetes, should always see their physician any time they have foot pain. If you feel pain while exercising, immediately stop and see a doctor, especially if the pain doesn't go away quickly.


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