Stress fracture of the foot is a common problem among athletes. A stress fracture is a crack in the bone with a width of a hair follicle, but causes discomfort especially when it is a weight bearing bone like in the foot. Stress fractures are common in the feet and usually among runners, dancers and basketball players. Stress fracture can be a serious condition if not properly treated, but it takes time to heal a stress fracture of the foot.
Symptoms of stress fracture of the foot usually begin with slight discomforts on the front part of the foot where most of the force and pressure is being exerted. The pain is very mild and it becomes worse during long periods of exercises, working out and running. The pain normally disappears when the affected person stops performing long periods of strenuous activities.
- Stop performing exercises and running or whatever is causing the pain.
- Get plenty of rest especially the affected foot. Wear a boot or use crutches to help promote fast healing of the area and keep weight away and pressure off the affected foot.
- Apply an ice pack or pack of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel and place on the affected foot for 20 minutes and avoid making it more than 20 minutes. Repeat the procedure at least 3-4 times every day to help lessen the swelling.
- Wrap the affected foot using an elastic bandage and elevate the foot above the level of the heart in order to help lessen swelling and inflammation.
- Take the prescribed pain medications such as acetaminophen in order to help lessen the pain.
- Begin performing some low-impact exercises such as biking or swimming as well as strengthening exercises.
- Seek the help of a physical therapist for the suitable rehabilitation program for strengthening exercises on the foot since weakness of these areas can be affected by foot-impact forces. Stretching the leg and muscles of the hip helps in restoring the flexibility of the area and performing balance exercises helps in improving stability of the whole body. There should be a rest period between exercises in order to help continue the repair of bone.
- Wear properly cushioned footwear with proper support for the foot.
- Eat a well balanced diet and adequate amounts of food rich in Vitamin D and calcium or take vitamin D and calcium supplements.
- Avoid performing intense workouts to prevent foot stress fracture. Warm up and stretch thoroughly before performing a workout and take a rest between workouts in order to help rest the body and bones. Proper use of exercise equipment can help prevent stress fractures.
- Avoid wearing worn-out shoes or with insufficient arch support when performing high-impact sports.