Stress fractures are tiny cracks that appear in your bones, which are common injuries in the bones of the lower body because these bones are responsible for distributing and bearing your body weight. Feet are particularly vulnerable to stress fractures because they are responsible for absorbing your body weight during normal activities—such as walking, running or jumping.
The most common area affected by stress fractures in the lower body is the tibia—or shin bone. Also called “shin splints”, this pain is usually felt during physical activity when, in reality, shin splints are not stressed fractures—they are the result of muscle pulling away from the bone. When they first appear, patients are advised to stop training altogether because muscle shin splints can actually cause stress fractures in Bethesda, MD, and Greater Washington.
Symptoms and Causes of Stress Fractures Bethesda, MD
Stress fractures are typically the result of overuse injuries and are commonly experienced by runners and other athletes. Occurring over time due to repetitive forces on weight-bearing bones and supporting muscles, it can cause small cracks to form in the bone.
Because stress fractures so small, they typically don’t cause any pain at first. However, over time—with enough repetitive motion—pain can develop in the affected area. While repetition and overuse are the most common causes of stress fractures in Bethesda, MD, there are other factors that contribute to their development, including:
- Biomechanical problems
- Inflexible or weak muscles
- Training on the wrong surfaces
- Wearing improper or ill-fitting footwear
- Family history of osteoporosis
If you are experiencing any symptoms of stress fractures in Bethesda, it is important to visit our office to receive a proper diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Stress Fractures in Bethesda, MD
To diagnose a stress fracture, Dr. Duggirala and Dr. Deroy, our podiatrists in Greater Washington, will discuss your medical history and gather information about your symptoms. Next, Dr. Duggirala or Dr. Deroy will perform a physical examination where they will check for areas of tenderness and pain. Once located, our Bethesda, MD podiatrists may recommend imaging tests—like x-rays or an ultrasound—to help confirm the diagnosis.
The treatment depends on the severity of your stress fracture. For mild stress fractures in Greater Washington, Dr. Duggirala or Dr. Deroy will probably recommend non-surgical treatment, including:
- Activity modification
- Protective footwear
- Better-fitting footwear
- Custom orthotics
When a stress fracture does not respond to the above methods, surgery may be recommended. Surgery usually involves inserting some type of fastener—like pins, screws, and/or plates—to support the bones in the foot or shin.
Contact Bethesda Foot and Ankle Center to learn more about stress fractures, and to find out what treatment options work best for your condition.