Tuesday, 24 October 2023 00:00

Causes of Foot Stress Fractures

Foot stress fractures, though they can happen to anyone, often have identifiable causes and risk factors. One of the leading causes of stress fractures is a sudden increase in activity. This increase can encompass frequency, duration, or intensity. It is particularly common among athletes pushing their boundaries, like marathon runners who ramp up their mileage too quickly. Changing the surface upon which you exercise is another factor to consider. Transitioning from a soft, forgiving surface like an indoor track or turf to a harsh, unforgiving one like a concrete sidewalk can place undue stress on the bones of your feet. Improper technique is a hidden enemy, as it can stem from other foot conditions, like blisters or bunions. When people adjust their gait to avoid pain or discomfort, they may inadvertently place extra stress on certain bones in the foot. Footwear matters more than you might think. Ill-fitting, flimsy, stiff, or worn-out shoes can contribute significantly to the development of stress fractures. It's not just athletes who need to be aware because even non-athletes can experience these injuries after walking extensively on uneven terrain, common during vacations. For more information on dealing with foot stress fractures, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist. 

Stress fractures occur when there is a tiny crack within a bone. To learn more, contact Dr. John R. Northrup from Superior Foot, Ankle & Wound Care. Our doctors 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 St. Augustine, and Palm Coast, FL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Dealing with Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

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