The foot is one of the vital balance components of the human body since they hold most of the body weight when we are standing. A fractured foot is painful, not to mention stressful. It limits mobility and dents one’s daily routine. The irony is that a fracture may only be a small crack in the bone, but its effects may intense. Such small but painful injuries in the foot are what constitute fractures.
What causes stress fractures?
A stress fracture simply refers to a crack or crevice within the foot bone. It is mostly caused by the continuous repetition of activity, and this explains why it is mostly experienced by athletes, football players, and those involved in sports that entail a lot of running around.
Weight bearing force subjects the foot to a lot of stress with the buildup of repetitive physical activities such as running and walking. Similarly, a change in activity can also lead to a fracture of the foot. Athletes who suddenly shift their workout to intensify the repetitions on the foot area or engaging in workouts that the foot is not used to can lead to a lot of stress, consequently leading to a bruise or crack in the foot area.
A change in the workout environment can also give the foot somewhat of a surprise, and such abrupt changes can cause a fracture in as quickly as the routine begins. If one was used to jogging along tarmac roads and decides to shift to more challenging terrain such as up a mountain, the chances of experiencing a stress fracture are higher. This is not to say that non-athletes are completely safe from injuries related to foot fractures. On the contrary, physically non-performing individuals are more likely to fracture a foot bone when they engage their bones in simple, yet fairly strange activity.
Metatarsal bones are the most common sites where stress fractures are experienced. Other vulnerable areas include the heel, the bone on top of the midfoot, known as the navicular.
Symptoms of a fractured foot
The most distinct pointer that you have a broken foot would be an instant sharp pain once an accident or injury has occurred. Other symptoms that may suggest a fractured foot include pain that builds up on undertaking an activity and subsides once you are at rest. A fractured food may also manifest in the form of deformity, awkward walking, and pain in the foot area when holding the entire body weight for example when walking. Difficulty in going through normal foot routines such as wearing a shoe and pain when conducting day to day activities are other possible signs of a fractured foot.
Factors increasing the chances of a foot fracture
Whether you are an athlete or not, there are several factors that increase the likeliness of sustaining a fracture in the foot area. These are poor workout techniques, false workout regimes, and unhealthy bones.
This is a more intense fracture caused by a direct foot injury. In most cases, an individual may hear a crack or knock in the foot area, followed by sharp pain. Ballet dancers are the most affected because of exerting too much pressure on the foot. The pain may ease in a few hours, but mobility will be greatly reduced.
As a form of first aid, applying ice on the affected area in the foot is a good way to relieve the pain. Aside from that, one can also take painkillers to help with the discomfort, even if it’s just for a while. Treatment of foot fractures is dependent on a number of factors. One major issue to consider is whether the bone has been displaced and whether tissues around the bone have also been affected during the injury. The most important thing to note is that fractures need support when healing, it is, therefore, advisable to avoid working the injured foot for a quick recovery. In some severe cases, the foot may require surgery. This is done when part of the bone has been moved out of position during injury.
Elevation is also another effective method of treating fractures. This entails lifting the foot high up to draw blood away from it. As a result, swelling is significantly reduced, leading to less pain.
Fractured Foot – Healing Time
A fractured foot, with proper treatment, can take 6 to 8 weeks to fully recover. This is with proper treatment and X-ray monitoring from the doctor. Stress fractures usually recover without any major complications. However, if the fracture was more severe, one may be able to fully resume their normal activities after 12 weeks. If fractures are diagnosed and treated quickly, they can recover much quicker.
Despite common belief, there are sure ways to avoid falling victim to foot fractures. A long term method is maintaining a proper diet that is friendly to the bones. Dense bones are less likely to succumb to pressure. The intensity of exercises should also be increased in a gradual manner, rather that with a sudden shift.