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Running on Stress Fractures

By Dr. Paul C. LaFata
August 11, 2014
Category: Running

Imagine you’re out for your regular run when you feel a sharp, excruciating pain in the middle of one foot. Every stride hurts. You do your best to hobble home and then have the injury checked out: You may a have metatarsal stress fracture. If you want to return to running without a complete break of the involved bone or bones, you’re going to have to invest in your foot care.

Tiny Cracks Leave Your Foot in PainSome runners don’t have to imagine that scenario; they’ve lived it and know the pain! These injuries are shallow cracks that result from repeated hard impacts—which means they’re a common problem for runners. These splits are fractures and weaken your bones, so you have to take the time to allow them to heal or risk a complete break.

As frustrating as it may be, you have to take time off from all hard-impact activities so you don’t worsen the injury. For a fractured metatarsal, you may need a special boot or a cast to avoid accidentally subjecting your foot to too much pressure. Take time to ice and elevate your foot to decrease inflammation and swelling as well. Bones take time to properly heal.

Then, when you aren’t experiencing pain and the split has healed, you can begin easing into your activities. This stage is important because jumping right back into pounding the ground could reinjure your foot right away. Instead, begin physical therapy exercises to strengthen and condition your foot. During this time, you can also take steps to correct any biomechanical issues that led to the bone cracks in the first place. After a time of conditioning, you can begin slowly building you way back up to your normal training regimen.

Don’t neglect any of these steps in your recovery if you want to run well. Taking the time you need to heal the right way is the key to returning to the trails after stress fractures. If you’re struggling at all with the healing process or wondering if your foot pain might be from bone cracks, let us take a digital x-ray and evaluate your condition here at West Lawn Podiatry Associates, the Center for Foot and Ankle Care in the Reading, PA, area. Call (610) 678-4581 or submit a request through our website to take care of your feet.

Photo Credit: Zirconicusso via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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