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4 Signs Your Persistent Foot Pain Is a Stress Fracture

Dec 12, 2023
4 Signs Your Persistent Foot Pain Is a Stress Fracture
Think that pain in your foot might indicate a stress fracture? You don’t want to ignore a stress fracture, so here are four signs you might have one so you can get the treatment you need.

No one wants to hear that they’ve suffered a stress fracture. If you’re an athlete or live an active lifestyle, you no doubt hoped your foot pain would just go away. With a stress fracture, however, you may need to take a break from your sport or favorite activity while it heals.

A stress fracture is a bone injury that results from overuse, causing tiny cracks or breaks in the bone. It usually affects bones that bear weight, such as those in your feet, shins, and thighs.

Anyone can suffer a stress fracture, but they most commonly affect athletes involved in repetitive, high-impact activities.

Our team here at Austin Foot & Ankle Institute in Austin and Cedar Park, Texas, sees these injuries frequently. Here are a few warning signs that indicate your persistent foot pain might be a stress fracture.

1. Pain that comes and goes based on activity

One of the biggest signs of a stress fracture is intermittent pain based on your activity level. When you’re up and active, you feel a sharp or shooting pain that doesn’t let up until you rest.

When you’re not putting weight on that foot, the pain subsides. You may still feel mild discomfort, but the sharp, shooting pain isn’t there.

2. Tenderness

Many stress fractures are tender at the site of the fracture, especially in the foot. If you feel pain and tenderness when you touch the area or put on socks and shoes, you may be dealing with a stress fracture.

3. Swelling or bruising

Those tiny cracks in your foot bone trigger an inflammatory response from your body, and that inflammation can cause swelling in the area. In some cases, bruising also develops at the site of the fracture.

4. Changes in biomechanics

If you have a stress fracture, you may unconsciously change how you walk by shifting weight from one foot to another to avoid the pain your subconscious knows is coming. If you find yourself doing this, it’s a sign you’ve got a stress fracture.

Treatment for stress fractures usually involves rest, physical therapy, over-the-counter pain relievers, and a cast or brace in severe cases. You may also want to modify your risk factors for a stress fracture to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

If these signs and symptoms ring a bell with you, call one of our three Austin-area offices today or request your appointment online. We can help you get back in action as soon as possible.