Yes, it is true: you can find online games to relieve stress. You can reduce tension with calming ones like Fishing Girl or Music Catch, or rid yourself of aggression with Whack Your Boss or Bee Sting. When it comes to getting rid of a stress fracture, though, the time for playing games is over. You need to knuckle down, so your injured bone heals and you avoid a more serious injury.
Bones Breaking under Pressure
Most stress fractures happen in your lower legs and feet, which absorb a lot of trauma in a typical day. This is especially true if you play certain sports—basketball, track, tennis, gymnastics, and the like. Overuse from the repeated impact of your steps in these activities can cause tiny cracks to form in your bones.
The ones most commonly affected are your metatarsals (long bones behind your toes), navicular (at the top of your midfoot), calcaneus (heel), and fibula (the outer shin bone). A stress fracture often happens if you suddenly do an activity you haven’t done, or increase its frequency, intensity, or duration. For example: You haven’t played tennis since high school, but your old pal wants a game so you’re out on the court killing yourself. Or, you usually go for a morning jog, but today you suddenly add another mile, or hills, or an extra 15 minutes to your workout.
Fissures in Weakened Bones
Bone insufficiency is another potential cause of injury. Your bones can be weakened by a condition like osteoporosis, but certain medications or lack of adequate calcium intake can also cause them to thin. Women are more prone to weakened bones due to eating disorders and irregular monthly cycles, too.
When the bone structure becomes porous, it is more likely to develop small cracks and fissures, even from normal activities. You could damage your bone just stepping off a curb the wrong way, or bumping your shins against the furniture.
Signs of the Problem
Pain from these tiny cracks will probably come gradually. You may notice it first while you are active, and it may disappear again when you rest. Over time, the pain will become more constant, and you may see swelling on your foot or ankle, along with bruising. You may notice that your shin hurts when you press on a certain spot. When you notice any unusual pain, come in to Atlantic Foot & Ankle Associates for an evaluation. We can use X-ray or MRI images to see what is going on and determine the best way to treat it.
Take the Stress out of Stress Fractures
Treatment usually begins with rest from weight-bearing activity. There is a constant turnover of cells in your bones. Some are damaged during activity, and then rebuilt when you rest. If you don’t rest, the bone won’t heal—it’s as simple as that. You can use ice packs covered with a thin cloth on the sore areas to reduce pain and swelling, and it is good to elevate your limb above heart level whenever possible. You may still be able to do conditioning activities like swimming or stationary biking.
For a more serious break, we may have you use a protective boot to cushion the injury, or even a brace or cast. Keep weight off the foot as much as possible at first, and once it is healed, return to activity gradually. We will let you know when it is safe to resume normal sports activity.
For expert care, trust your feet to the specialists at Atlantic Foot & Ankle Associates. Call one of our offices in east Florida for an appointment today. Reach us at the numbers below or request an appointment online.