Diabetic Foot Care Advice

The aim of this blog is to help members of the public to understand their feet better. However the information on this blog should never be regarded as medical advice. Readers with foot problems are strongly encouraged to visit their GP if not the podiatrist for further medical assessment and treatment.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stress Fractures Of The Feet

Feet are constantly under pressure during normal daily activity. This pressure is intensified during vigorous exercise. Repeated exercise, such as running everyday, can cause a condition known as a stress fracture.

A stress fracture is a small break in the bone caused by overuse. During exercise, the muscles usually act as shock absorbers which limit the jarring to the bones. As an individual exercises, the muscles become tired and less able to absorb the shock of the impact the exercise causes. As the muscles tire, more of the pressure of impact affects the bones. Over time, this can lead to a stress fracture of the foot, ankle, or fibula, a bone in the lower leg.

With the amount of pressure exerted during exercise, it is no surprise that stress fractures most commonly affect the bones of the foot. Stress fractures can occur in the metatarsals of the foot or the heel. Stress fractures of the foot can cause pain, swelling, and sometimes bruising.

Applying ice or a cold pack to the affected area can help reduce swelling and help prevent further bruising. Apply ice packs for up to ten minutes, then keep the ice pack off the injury for ten minutes before reapplying. Do not leave the ice pack on for an extended period of time. The use of cold packs can be replaced by the application of heat after a day or two. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to minimize the discomfort.

Stress fractures are further treated by reducing weight-bearing activities. Most stress fractures heal in two to four weeks. However, some stress fractures can take six to eight weeks to heal. The doctor may specify the use of a brace or special protective footwear during this time. An x-ray or bone scan may be used to check if the bone is fractured or completely broken. The doctor may prescribe the use of crutches to reduce the pressure exerted on the injured foot.


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