While some of us want nothing more than to lie down and relax after a stressful day, others relieve their tension by hitting the pavement, heading to the gym, or engaging in other forms of physical activity. These are often very effective and healthy choices for relieving tension, but ramping up your intensity too quickly can strain the bones in your feet and lower legs, leading to tiny cracks called stress fractures.
A potential stress fracture leads to another stressful situation: should you keep active and wait for the pain to go away, or do you seek treatment? It may be tempting to keep working out, especially if the pain tends to disappear with rest, but don’t do it. A suspected stress fracture needs a timeout for proper evaluation and healing.
Stress fractures are not always easy to recognize, especially if you feel very little discomfort when one first forms. Just like a crack in a window or sheet of ice, however, continuing to put stress on the broken area can cause the damage to grow more severe. The pain will likely grow worse with time as this happens, and as the cracks spread and widen, they become more difficult to heal.
The longer a stress fracture is ignored and left untreated, the higher the risk that it will not heal fully or properly. This can lead to a chronic weakened state in the bone, making re-injury more likely. Further damage can lead to chronic pain, or the bone might never completely heal.
If you think you have developed a stress fracture, put a hold on any activities that stress the injured area and contact the doctors at California Foot and Ankle Institute. We can evaluate your injury and provide the proper care to help prevent future pain or instability. Schedule an appointment with our Victorville office by calling (760) 951-2000 or our Irvine office at (949) 833-3406. You can also reach either office toll-free at (888) 796-6631.
Photo credit: photostock via freedigitalphotos.net