Stress fractures — also known as hairline cracks or fractures – are common when the bone experiences tiny cracks as a result of continued pounding on hard surfaces, unsupportive or worn-down shoes, or carrying too much weight. Stress fractures can occur in any bone, however, when they happen in the foot and ankle, it can make walking, running, standing or playing your favorite sport unbearable. Left untreated, stress fractures can become more pronounced and difficult to treat.
Symptoms of Stress Fractures
Standing on your feet all day or running a 10k can cause your feet to ache, but that doesn’t mean you have stress fractures. To differentiate between achy, sore feet and stress fractures, watch for these signs, which include
- The most reported characteristic of a stress fracture is the occurrence of pain deep within the ankle, foot, or toes. Those affected can also experience minor discomfort or weakness in the area where the fracture is. Expect the pain to intensify as you increase pressure on your feet; the pain may also let up when you keep off your feet. (Note: this is one difference between stress fractures and plantar fasciitis; with the latter the pain alleviates when you start to move your feet but intensifies when you take those initial steps after resting for a long while.)
- A stress fracture in your foot can cause swelling on the top of your foot and outside of your ankle. It can also cause mild redness throughout your foot, preventing you from walking comfortably.
- When you have a stress fracture, expect your foot to become more sensitive to pain, especially when touching the affected area – this is also referred to as “pin-point” pain.
- In some cases, bruising can occur. While this happens rarely, be on the lookout for bruising and discoloration around the affected area.
If you think you have a stress fracture, please call Houston’s Foot Doc Sherman Nagler right away.