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Stress Fracture

Stress Fracture

Stress Fracture services offered in Austin, Lakeway and Cedar Park, TX

Most stress fractures develop in the feet, ankles, and lower extremities, leaving you vulnerable to pain and mobility issues. At Austin Foot & Ankle Institute, in Austin and Bee Cave, Texas, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Pedro E. Cosculluela, MD provides complete care for stress fractures to help you heal and return to your normal activities quickly. Call your nearest location today or schedule an appointment online to receive comprehensive care for stress fractures.

Stress Fracture Q & A

What are stress fractures?

A stress fracture is a type of bone injury that occurs when repetitive overuse leads to tiny cracks or breaks in the bone. It typically happens in weight-bearing bones, like the shinbone, foot bones, and thighbone.

Stress fractures are common among people who engage in high-impact activities or those who have suddenly increased their level of physical activity. While stress fractures can happen to anyone, athletes and active individuals are particularly susceptible.

What are the signs of stress fractures?

A stress fracture may not be obvious at first. It typically starts as a dull ache that worsens with activity and improves with rest. Because stress fractures can go unnoticed, many people continue walking, running, and participating in high-impact sports with their injuries. 

Understanding the warning signs of a stress fracture ensures you’re able to rest and heal. Common stress fracture symptoms include:

  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness or instability in the affected area
  • Localized pain

As the fracture worsens, it can cause significant pain that makes it difficult to walk, stand, and sleep comfortably.

How are stress fractures diagnosed?

Stress fractures require multiple tests to diagnose. After reviewing your medical history and discussing your symptoms, Dr. Cosculluela conducts a physical exam. They may press on the bone to see whether you have tenderness or pain. Radiographs are obtained during your visit to look for a fracture. Additional imaging, such as CT scan, MRI or bone scans, may be necessary in some cases as the fracture is not always visible on regular X-rays.

What are the treatments for stress fractures?

The first step in treating a stress fracture is removing pressure from your foot and ankle. Dr. Cosculluela recommends the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method to relieve pain and reduce swelling to promote healing. Other standard treatments for stress fractures include:

  • Activity modification
  • Custom-made orthotics
  • Antiinflammatory pain relievers
  • Protective footwear
  • Assistive devices

If nonsurgical interventions aren’t enough to relieve your pain, Dr. Cosculluela may recommend surgery to repair the damage.

Don’t wait to seek care for a stress fracture. If you experience symptoms, such as pain, stiffness, and swelling, call Austin Foot & Ankle Institute today or schedule an appointment online to consult with Dr. Cosculluela.

In addition to performing a thorough history and physical examination, we will obtain new radiographs of the foot and/or ankle during your visit. If radiographs have already been done, our physicians will review those radiographs and any additional studies - MRI, CT, bone scans, etc - that are available through our PACS access to local facilities. We also offer durable medical equipment - braces, boots, OTC casts - at the office. We have relationships with local orthotic and prosthetic shops for those who need more specialized bracing and orthotic care. Additional services include diagnostic and therapeutic injections with steroids, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and other stem cell preparations.