Could That Foot Pain Signal a Stress Fracture?

Stress fractures are a common sports injury, but they can occur off the playing field as well. Your metatarsal bones — the long bones that connect your ankle to your toes — are the most often affected by stress fractures.

Mikol Anderson, DPM, and our experienced staff at Anderson Foot & Ankle Clinic use convenient on-site diagnostic equipment and expert fracture care techniques to ensure your full recovery — all under one roof.

Below, we explore the top five signs that your foot pain points to a stress fracture.

5 signs your foot pain is caused by a stress fracture

If your foot hurts, you might ask, “Why?” and — more importantly — “What can I do about it?” Because the right treatment depends on the cause of your pain, the first step in finding relief is pinpointing the cause of your foot pain. Foot pain can arise from a variety of conditions including acute fracture, strains, sprains, blisters, and stress fractures.

Here are the top five signs that your pain is related to a stress fracture:

  1. Your pain increases with activity (and subsides with rest)
  2. You see bruising on your foot
  3. Your pain appeared shortly after starting a new, intense workout regimen
  4. You might also notice swelling on the top of your foot 
  5. Your pain is dull but eventually worsens over time

You’re more at risk of developing a stress fracture if you participate in a high-impact sport, have had a previous stress fracture, or have flat feet or high, rigid arches. Wearing worn-out shoes can also contribute to the problem. 

What to do if your foot hurts

Unlike an acute fracture, you might not even realize you have a stress fracture at first. Stress fractures, which develop from repetitive force (such as your foot hitting the ground while running), start as thin, hairline cracks in your bone. You might notice slight swelling or a dull ache in your foot, but even if the pain dissipates with rest, it’s important to confirm your suspicions. Untreated, the hairline cracks can worsen, causing more pain and reduced mobility. 

If you suspect you have a stress fracture (or any other foot injury), schedule an appointment with Dr. Anderson. In the meantime, follow the RICE protocol: rest, ice, compression, and elevate. 

Preventing future stress fractures

Recovering from a stress fracture can take weeks, and an accurate diagnosis can ensure you get the right treatment. Dr. Anderson walks you through everything you need to know about recovering from a stress fracture. That includes how long to refrain from physical activity, and what you can do to prevent future stress fractures. 

Once you’ve recovered from a stress fracture, you can take steps to avoid a recurrence. That can include:

The bottom line: swift podiatric care can help prevent a hairline crack from worsening. 

Whether you’re an athlete or not, Dr. Anderson can help you get back on your feet. If you’re concerned about foot pain, call our Salt Lake City, Utah office at 801-752-0457 today. You can also book an appointment using the online portal.

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