A stress fracture is a small crack that forms in a bone, often due to overuse. As such, stress fractures most commonly occur in the feet and lower legs, since those bones are tasked with carrying a person’s bodyweight. Individuals who routinely place a lot of weight and force on their feet—such as runners, tennis and basketball players, dancers, gymnasts, and those who participate in other high-impact sports—are at an especially high risk for developing stress fractures.
Someone who’s new to an activity may also develop stress fractures if he or she tries to do too much too soon, especially if he or she had been following a relatively sedentary lifestyle up until that point. That’s why it’s important for someone who is starting a new exercise regimen to make gradual changes and cross-train. Even athletes who are used to regular exercise may develop stress fractures if they start training more frequently or if they switch to a new type of equipment.
Stress fractures are more likely to develop after a condition like osteoporosis has already weakened the bone, leaving it more vulnerable to injury. Additional risk factors that can increase someone’s chances of developing a stress fracture include:
- Having flat feet or high, rigid arches
- Failing to consume enough vitamin D and calcium
- Being a woman, especially one who experiences abnormal menstrual periods or none at all
- Having previously experienced a stress fracture
What Are the Symptoms of a Stress Fracture?
Stress fractures can cause a significant amount of pain, sometimes accompanied by swelling. Oftentimes, this pain is barely noticeable when a stress fracture first develops, but then gets worse over time. You may notice that the pain tends to go away, or at least improve, while you’re resting the affected area.
How Do You Treat a Stress Fracture?
Stress fractures can typically be treated using conservative, nonsurgical methods, potentially including:
- Resting the area
- Applying ice packs
- Wearing a brace or a walking boot
- Using crutches
In some cases, however, surgery may be necessary to ensure that a stress fracture heals properly. If you believe that you might have a stress fracture, it’s important to promptly seek treatment, since failing to do so could lead to chronic issues and increase your chances of developing additional, potentially more serious stress fractures in the future.
Treatment for Stress Fractures in Carson City, NV & Surrounding Communities
If you’re in Carson City, Nevada, or a nearby area and you suspect that you might have a stress fracture, you can turn to Tahoe Fracture & Orthopedic Medical Clinic for high-quality treatment. We’re a trusted orthopedic practice that’s been serving patients since 1966, and stress fractures are just one of the many orthopedic conditions we treat. We’ll perform an evaluation, order any necessary diagnostic tests, and recommend a course of treatment suited to your condition and lifestyle.