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What Are Causes of Stress Fractures?

Tuesday, 28 December 2021 00:00

Most people have heard of shin splints, which affect the lower leg bone as the result of hard pounding while running. But this same activity can also affect the metatarsals of the foot, resulting in stress fractures. Metatarsals are the five long bones in the foot that connect the heel and arch to the toes. The second and third metatarsals are those most likely to develop stress fractures, which are tiny cracks in the bones. This makes sense because this is the area of the foot that takes the brunt of pounding during activity. Stress fractures are thought to be more common in women and older people. Participating in certain activities – including running, playing basketball, dancing, and marching – also increases the likelihood of developing stress fractures. In addition, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, and calcium deficiency can be contributing factors. It may be hard to tell if you have stress fractures, because often the pain subsides after you stop the activity. However, if you begin to feel the pain even when you are not exercising, it is suggested that you seek the care of a podiatrist, who can properly diagnose your condition and suggest an appropriate treatment plan.

Stress fractures occur when there is a tiny crack within a bone. To learn more, contact Dr. Lee R. Stein from Lake Shore Foot & Ankle, PC. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain free and on your feet.

How Are They Caused?

Stress fractures are the result of repetitive force being placed on the bone. Since the lower leg and feet often carry most of the body’s weight, stress fractures are likely to occur in these areas. If you rush into a new exercise, you are more likely to develop a stress fracture since you are starting too much, too soon.  Pain resulting from stress fractures may go unnoticed at first, however it may start to worsen over time.

Risk Factors

  • Gender – They are more commonly found in women compared to men.
  • Foot Problems – People with unusual arches in their feet are more likely to develop stress fractures.
  • Certain Sports – Dancers, gymnasts, tennis players, runners, and basketball players are more likely to develop stress fractures.
  • Lack of Nutrients – A lack of vitamin D and calcium may weaken the bones and make you more prone to stress fractures
  • Weak Bones – Osteoporosis can weaken the bones therefore resulting in stress fractures

Stress fractures do not always heal properly, so it is important that you seek help from a podiatrist if you suspect you may have one. Ignoring your stress fracture may cause it to worsen, and you may develop chronic pain as well as additional fractures.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Chicago, Highland Park, and Uptown, IL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle
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