Common Culprits of Stress Fractures in Your Feet

Common Culprits of Stress Fractures in Your Feet

Throughout the day, our feet are the recipients of constant pounding and stress. Whether from the hard pavements of the streets or cramped conditions of work heels or dress shoes, our feet frequently take a good beating. Dramatic daily overuse can occasionally cause fractures in our feet, which are called stress fractures. Stress fractures are the result of chronic overuse or repetitive force, which can lead to small hairline cracks in the bones of the foot. Here are some of the reasons fractures like this occur.


Poor Conditioning

Doing too much too soon is a common cause of stress fracture. This is often the case with individuals who are just beginning an exercise program-but it occurs in experienced athletes, as well. This situation in which people not only increase activity levels, but push through any discomfort and do not give their bodies the opportunity to recover, can lead to stress fractures.

Change in Surface. A change in training or playing surface, such as a tennis player going from a grass court to a hard court, or a runner moving from a treadmill to an outdoor track, can increase the risk for stress fracture.

Improper shoes. It sounds unlikely, but fractures from improper footwear are more common than most would think. Shoes that lack padding or are too stiff can lead to symptoms of chronic overuse. High heels can also cause stress on the ball of the foot, leading to stress fractures of the metatarsals. Podiatrists recommend wearing a different pair of shoes every day and also wearing walking shoes for the daily commute, changing into office shoes upon arrival. Hard pavement can lead to stress on the feet, so soft; padded shoes should be worn whenever on these surfaces.

Change in walking pattern. Any injury to the lower extremity can alter walking patterns. For example, if one has sustained an ankle sprain, tendon injury, or a bunion, walking may be altered to avoid pain on the injury site. This can change the biomechanics during the gait cycle, putting new stress on previously unloaded parts of the foot. This compensation may eventually result in a fracture.

Weakened bones. Reduced bone density seen in older individuals can result in fractures. A discussion with your doctor about your risk factors and a bone density test can determine if you are prone to these injuries. Women with abnormal or absent menstrual periods are at risk, as well as those suffering from osteoporosis. Patients with low body weight, and low calcium levels also may be more at risk for injury.

These stress fractures typically occur without a traumatic incident and because the associated pain symptoms can sometimes be vague, many patients delay seeing their foot doctors. Delayed diagnosis can lead to delays in healing time. If you are experiencing any pain, it is best to see your podiatrist as soon as possible to avoid complication and further injury.

Contact Houston Foot and Ankle. Dr. Donald Stran is a Podiatrist serving the Houston and Friendswood areas. To learn more about the procedures treated at Houston Foot and Ankle or to schedule an appointment please call any of our locations listed below.

Friendswood: (281) 992-0006
Missouri City: (281) 741-3017
Lake Jackson: (979) 297-8500

Dr. Donald Stran

Dr. Donald C. Stran has practiced in the community since 1987. He is Board Certified and is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgery. He is currently a teaching physician with the St. Joseph’s Medical Center podiatric residency program.

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