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Heel Stress Fracture

Date Added: October 03, 2011 04:23:33 AM


This condition is caused by overuse of the foot. Due to fatigue of the foot muscles, there tends to be the development of cracks on the heel bones as a result of increased shock and impact of the muscles.  The cracks do not necessarily occur as a result of overuse. If the leg is not overused, it might also suffer this condition especially if the person is suffering bone weakening diseases like osteoporosis. The condition mainly emanates from simple fractures of the outer bones of the lower leg also called the fibula and the mid foot bone also referred to as the navicular. You will find many fractures on these areas of the affected foot.

Symptoms

The affected person would experience pains that will normally build up progressively.  The heel pain is even much severe during activity but tends to settle when the person or the affected area is resting.  The outer ankle will in most cases and become tenderer as if it were bruised.
When the pain becomes too much during activity, it is advisable that you stop what you are doing immediately and then let the foot rest. Never try to ignore the seriousness of this situation since it can lead to complete breakage of the affected bones or even lead to serious deformities.  If you experience the pains during activity, get some ice and hold it onto the affected area so as to deal with the inflammation. Try to elevate the toe above the level of the heart. Make sure that you do not at any time apply any weight on the affected area and seek guidance from a physician immediately.

Causes

The main cause of this condition is overuse of the foot and thus leading to shock. This is mostly common to athletes who after a long time of athletic inactivity try to attain their earlier mileage without having to do proper warm up exercises. The runners who tend to overuse their feet and practice for extended durations are evenly at risk.

Another common cause of heel fractures if the use of improper footwear during exercises. Frequent changes of the running surfaces can also lead to the aggravation of the condition.  The changes in the running surface may involve running indoors and then outside the next hour. Other medical conditions like osteoporosis and flat footedness and bunions can affect the functioning of the foot radically therefore exposing it even more to increased breakage and fracture chances.  Studies have also shown that ladies who have irregular periods tend to have lower bone density, a condition that makes them more prone to bone fractures.

Diagnosis

Most of the doctors would recommend the use of scans to detect bone fractures. X-rays tend to be less usable in this case because they do not provide reliable results when it comes to detection of fractures. As a matter of fact, the scanners can be able to identify fractures even in their initial stages. This is a factor that makes them more effective for this scenario than the x-rays.

Treatment

In most cases of heel rapture, there is no specified medication. Resting is the only choice. Just make sure that you reduce the activity of the affected area as much as you can. Another remedy for such a condition is to wear proper footwear. Depending on the severity of the condition, many of the patients are advised to use shoes with stiffer soles to avoid straining the muscles of the foot.  In cases where this condition occurs to an athlete, they are advised to try and switch sports until the fracture is properly healed.  Swimming for instance can be one of the most ideal sports to switch to in such a scenario.

Heel Spur Surgery might be administered especially if there is a breakage of the fifth metatarsal. However, in most cases, it is not very necessary.  Many a times, the surgeon would insert a screw into the affected bone to fasten and ensure that the healing process is consistent.

This condition is very similar to Morton’s Neuroma in that treatments are not straight forward and might not always work.