What exactly is a stress fracture of the foot? This injury is tiny cracks in the weight bearing bones of your foot, which result from overuse due to running, basketball, gymnastics or other high demand sports. Football is another sport where this injury is very common and likely, Mohamed Sanu, a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals was placed on the injured reserve list on December 4thfrom this injury.

These sports cause the muscles in your foot to become tired and less able to absorb the shock from the impact being placed on them, so the shock is displaced to the bones of your feet creating tiny cracks. The most common place in the foot for this to occur is on the second and third metatarsals and the calcaneus bone. Wait what…? These are the bones of your second and third toes and your heel!

Some common symptoms of foot stress fractures include pain that gets worse while bearing weight on your foot and goes away with rest, swelling on the top of foot or ankle, tenderness and bruising on the top of the foot or ankle.

Diagnosis and treatment of this injury is very important so that worse problems do not develop. Your podiatrist can diagnose the injury with a simple x-ray and examination of the foot. After the diagnosis has been made rest is very important! If you do not rest you can cause the bone to break completely and surgery will be required. Along with rest keeping weight off your foot is essential; your podiatrist will recommend either protective footwear or a cast until the cracks heal completely. In some cases surgery in required to stabilize the bones, but in a majority of cases rest and casting will heal the bones.

However after the bones heal it is important to not jump back into your normal activity level, you need to ease yourself back into the activities you did before the injury. If you jump right back into the high stress activity you were doing before you could injure yourself again and it could be worse this time.

But if you want to avoid the chance of this injury all together here are a few tips for prevention! Always gradually ease yourself into any new activity, use strength training to keep your muscles able to handle the stress you’re putting on them and also alternate your activities, repetitive motion can be stressful to your bones.

By: Varun Gujral