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, Lakeway and Cedar Park, Texas, board-certified orthopedic surgeons Pedro E. Cosculluela, MD, and Andrew M. Ebert, MD provide 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.
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.
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:
As the fracture worsens, it can cause significant pain that makes it difficult to walk, stand, and sleep comfortably.
Stress fractures require multiple tests to diagnose. After reviewing your medical history and discussing your symptoms, Dr. Cosculluela and Dr. Ebert conduct 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.
The first step in treating a stress fracture is removing pressure from your foot and ankle. Dr. Cosculluela and Dr. Ebert recommend 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:
If nonsurgical interventions aren’t enough to relieve your pain, Dr. Cosculluela and Dr. Ebert 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 or Dr. Ebert.