High-impact sports can be exhilarating, but for many athletes it is easy to crack under the pressure ... literally.
Stress fractures of the foot and ankle can be painful and will slow down even the most dedicated athlete.
A stress fracture is a crack that develops in a bone, usually as the result of overuse when a patient does an activity too frequently, too intensely, or for too long.
“Stress fractures are an overload phenomenon,” said Dr. Premjit (Pete) Deol of Panorama Orthopedics & Spine Center in metro Denver. “Stress fractures can be in all parts of the foot. What the foot is seeing is too much stress in that area, too much force, too much pressure. That can be either the result of over activity or sudden increase in activity.”
Athletes who play tennis or basketball, or who do track and field, gymnastics or dance, may be at an increased risk.
Depending on the location and severity of the fracture, treatment could be as simple as resting the foot. However, in some cases it is possible that protective footwear, a cast, or even surgery may be necessary for a complete recovery.
“The length of healing for a stress fracture, or anything in the foot, is really related to how much you abuse it,” said Dr. Deol. “If you don’t listen to it and you push pass the pain and ignore the pain, it’s going to take longer. If it hurts, it’s not healed.”
The typical recovery period for a stress fracture is six to eight weeks.