Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Stress Fractures in Women

The most common reason a woman over the age of thirty-five comes into my office with a swollen, sore area on the top of the foot is a stress fracture. Stress fractures are hairline breaks in a bone that may be through one or both sides or cotices of the bone and develop for a variety of reasons, including reduced bone density, age, obesity, various health conditions, repetitive movements (like marching, running, or jumping), poor circulation, trauma, and other causes. The metatarsal bones of the foot area common locations for stress fractures, but any bone in the foot can develop a stress fracture. Often, there is pain, swelling, and difficulty walking when the bones of the foot develop this type of fracture. X-rays are ordered when a stress fracture is suspected. However, x-rays are frequently negative for a stress fracture, and more advanced modalities like CT scans or MRI or repeat x-rays at a later date may be needed to see the fracture. A stress fracture needs to be immobilized in order to heal properly. Unprotected walking with a regular shoe can cause the stress fracture to shift out of place, not heal properly, or cause continued pain and swelling in the foot. Thus, proper treatment with a physician is necessary. Other considerations for healing of a stress fracture of the foot include reducing standing and walking (delays healing), controlling other health conditions (like blood sugar for diabetics), and assessing and treating reduced bone density (increasing Vitamin D intake if low). Do you have a painful, swollen foot? Give us a call, 708-763-0580, or visit oakparkpodiatry.com.