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Common Runners’ Injury: Stress Fractures of the Foot

Foot Stress Fractures are increasingly more common, and especially with first-time marathon runners.  Running has many physical and pyschological benefits, not to mention being able to enjoy so much of the beautiful scencery Colorado has to offer.

The growing popularity of marathons among beginning runners has contributed to the increase in repetitive stress injuries, including stress fractures of the foot, seen by foot and ankle surgeons. Often, first-time marathoners enter a race with little or improper long-distance training. The lack of experience coupled with the repetitive impact placed on the feet during the run can produce enough stress to cause hairline breaks in the bones of the foot.

Runners who increase their mileage too quickly or change to a more intense phase of training may be more susceptible to a stress fracture due to the increased force placed on the bones.  A general rule of thumb for runners is to increase the mileage by no more than 10 percent each week. Runners who are training also need to have adequate rest time in between runs to help decrease the risk of injury.

Runners at all levels of experience are also at higher risk for stress fractures if they wear improper shoes while running or training, suffer from flatfoot or other foot deformities or have osteoporosis.

Signs of a stress fracture can include pain, swelling, redness and possibly bruising of the area.

Stress fractures can occur anywhere in the foot and can eventually lead to a complete break of the bone if left untreated.  Early diagnosis and treatment are important to ensure proper healing.

In most cases, treatment includes rest and immobilization with casting of the foot. Surgery may be required in certain instances to repair and stabilize a stress fracture that has progressed into a full fracture.

Runners can take action to prevent repetitive stress injuries in their feet by wearing supportive athletic shoes and slowly building up their activity levels according to their abilities. 

Dr. Blue specializes in foot care for athletes, if you suspect and injury, don't delay. Book an appointment online with us today. Dr. Blue and the team at Colorado Foot and Ankle Sports Medicine are here to provide you with the expert care you need so you can get back on your feet.

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