Stress Fracture

stress fractureStress fractures are small hairline cracks found in bones. Common stress fracture site are the metatarsals, tibia and navicular although stress fractures can develop in any bone.

Stress fractures are mostly associated with overuse although can also develop from sudden trauma. The Foot and Leg Clinic mostly see patients that have developed stress fracture as a result of repetitive loading from sport, or perhaps the patient has suddenly increased his/her daily walking level without changing to appropriate cushioned footwear.

Foot posture can play a key role in the speed of recovery from a stress fracture. For example, an over pronated foot (flat feet, low arched foot or pes planus) or the supinated foot (pes cavus or high arched foot) can result in significant increases in the load applied to the bone. This can be either by direct application of the force to the bone, or indirectly resulting from fatigue of the muscle groups surrounding the affected bone due to the position of the foot.

A biomechanical assessment will confirm the positional changes of the foot/ankle, knee and hip which are contributing to the injury. MRI or x-ray will confirm the diagnosis of a stress fracture. The clinician will advise if foot orthotics are required to correct foot posture, whether the patient needs to work to improve core stability or whether the stress fracture injury can be treated with non orthotic foot technique such as foot mobilisations.

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