The bones in your foot have to absorb a lot of force during weight bearing activities such as walking and running. Stress fractures are typically caused by repeated overloading of a bone, ultimately leading to a hairline crack or break in it. Usually stress fractures occur in healthy athletes with normal bones but they can also be a sign of bone health problems such as osteoporosis. Often poor technique or worn out equipment such as trainers will be a factor in developing stress fractures.
Our surgeons usually diagnose a stress fracture from talking to you about what has happened to your foot and examining it. The typical finding is one of very localised but significant tenderness over the bone in question. Often you will have had X-rays in A&E before seeing one of our team and these are usually normal. Indeed, stress fractures are rarely seen on X-ray before 2-3 weeks. If there is doubt about the diagnosis, an MRI may be arranged to confirm a stress fracture.
The mainstay of treatment is to reduce the forces going through the bone and allow it to heal. We usually do this by getting you to stop activities and immobilise the foot in a removable boot or cast until the bone heals. We can then gradually increase you activity and the stresses put through the foot to strengthen the bone and prevent recurrence. Once the bone has healed, our team will look for possible risk factors such as foot alignment, stretching technique and training regime. We will also assess your bone health including life style and diet as well as looking for possible medical causes for stress fractures.
There are many ways to book an appointment at the Cotswold Foot & Ankle Clinic. This may be a referral from either your GP, Hospital Consultant, Chartered Physiotherapist or Podiatrist.
For insured patients you will need to contact your insurance provider. If self-funding you may make a direct referral, but we prefer if you contact your GP, so they can inform us of your medical background.
OUR CONSULTANTS MR BROWN AND MR CLINT ARE MEMBERS OF
Cheltenham Hospital, Nuffield Health
Cheltenham GL51 6SY
The Manor Hospital, Nuffield Health
Oxford OX3 7RP
01242 246 559