Stress fractures are weak spots or small cracks in the bone caused by continuous overuse. Stress fractures often occur in the foot after training for basketball, running, and other sports. The bones in the midfoot (metatarsals) in runners are especially vulnerable to stress fractures.
A stress fracture may not cause swelling. But symptoms can occur a bit differently in each person. Symptoms may include:
Pain in the front of the foot, often after long or intense bouts of exercise
Pain that goes away after exercise, then returns when exercise is continued
The symptoms of stress fractures can be like other health conditions. Always see your doctor for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis of a stress fracture usually is confirmed with a complete health history and a physical exam. X-rays often cannot see stress fractures because they are so fine. So a CT scan or an MRI may be done. Once calluses form around the fracture, an X-ray can confirm a stress fracture. Sometimes a bone scan is done to find a stress fracture.
Specific treatment for a stress fracture will depend on:
Your age, overall health, and health history
How serious your injury is
How well you are able to handle certain medicines, procedures, and therapies
How long your injury is expected to last
Your opinion or preference
Treatment may include:
Medicine such as ibuprofen
Shock-absorbing shoes to use during exercise
Running on soft surfaces, such as grass
Switching to a less stressful activity, such as swimming or biking
Wearing a brace or cast
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