New York Knicks forward-center Rasheed Wallace is currently suffering from a stress fracture in his foot, affecting his playing time. Stress fractures are common athletic and overuse injuries. They are especially common in those who participate in sports involving a lot of running. Stress fractures are also common in bone that is not as strong due to conditions like osteoporosis.
As far as what is occurring in the bone, a stress fracture is a small crack or interruption in the bone. Often the soft tissue like muscle will not be able to absorb the shock of the repetitive stress causing the stress to affect the bone. Symptoms of a stress fracture are pain, particularly when bearing weight on the foot. Swelling may be present as well as bruising. As far as diagnosis, your podiatrist will take a thorough history and physical. This will be followed by imaging studies such as a bone scan or X-ray. In the case of an x-ray, a stress fracture is often difficult to detect until it begins the healing process about two weeks after development. Treatment should begin with rest to allow the healing process to begin or continue. If not done the stress fracture can worsen. Your podiatrist may also want to place a protective brace or cast the foot, particularly if the stress fracture is in a bone that may take more time or be more difficult to heal. Typically treatment is conservative but in some cases surgery may be warranted.
There are steps to take in preventing stress fractures such as proper nutrition, especially enough calcium to maintain and build bone strength. Adequate and supportive foot wear can also help prevent a stress fracture. As well gradually increasing intensity in athletic activity can help to prevent stress fractures opposed to doing too much activity too soon.
If you think you may have a stress fracture, please do not wait to see a podiatrist. The physicians at Atlantic Foot and Ankle Associates take a conservative approach for all types of injuries. Make an appointment at one of our four offices conveniently located in Palm Coast, Orange City, Daytona Beach, and Port Orange and get back to walking pain free!