A stress fracture is a common overuse injury where a tiny crack develops in a bone. The foot is a common place for a stress fracture, particularly in the 2nd and 3rd metatarsals. When an athlete repetitively loads the foot by running or jumping, the impact can cause this microscopic fracture to develop. It’s very important to treat a stress fracture seriously, or else it can grow into a full on, macroscopic fracture that will require additional healing and time away from activity.
Most of the stress fractures we see at MOTUS are from overuse injuries in athletes with otherwise healthy bones. Patients who participate in sports like running, soccer, gymnastics, cheerleading, or tennis go through repetitive movements that can wear down the bones in their feet. Before a stress fracture occurs, inflammation around the bone will arise. Typically, a precursor to a stress fracture is a Stress Reaction.
It’s also possible for people with weak bones from conditions like osteoporosis to develop a stress fracture from less intense activity, like regular walking. This is often referred to as an insufficiency fracture. However, at our sports specific clinic we generally work with patients who have had a stress fracture as a result of repetitive impact from their activity.
A lot of times, a stress fracture will develop when an athlete suddenly increases the demand of their performance. We take this factor into consideration when diagnosing pain in the foot. If we learn from a patient that they have recently adjusted the amount or intensity of their activity, we might suspect a stress fracture. Unsupportive shoes can also increase the chances of a stress fracture developing.
A stress fracture develops little by little, so in the beginning stages a person might not think much of it. Gradually, the pain will worsen, and will be centered at a specific area in the foot. At first, it might only hurt when there’s weight or stress on the foot, but if the fracture continues to grow, pain could occur at night or during rest.
Many athletes will develop a stress fracture at some point in their career. When we address this issue at MOTUS, we look at the big picture. We want to learn everything we can about the patient’s training routine, their footwear, their activity level, and the overall condition of their body as a whole. At MOTUS, we seek to address the root of the problem, and not just the pain. Our goal is to apply our experience, knowledge, and innovative techniques to help you develop healthier movements for successful active lifestyle.