Protect Your Health

Protect Your Health

Runners And Stress Fractures: Taking Care Of That Pain In Your Foot

by Claire Ward

While running is generally good for your body, it can be very hard on your feet. According to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, every time your feet hit the ground, they do so with a force equal to between three and four times your body's weight. Unfortunately, this type of force can put a lot of stress on the bones of your feet. So if you are a runner, you've probably encountered days when your feet have ached after exercise. Most of the times, with a little rest, that pain will disappear. But if your pain persists or even gets worse, it's time to see a podiatric physician or orthopedist because you may have a stress fracture that requires treatment.

Recognizing the Symptoms of a Stress Fracture

The pain of a stress fracture begins gradually and, in fact, you may barely notice it at first.  But eventually, you may experience the following symptoms in your feet:

  • Persistent aching or burning pain that gets worse during weight-bearing exercises and movement.
  • Possible swelling in the painful area.
  • Pain when the area near the stress fracture is palpated.

What is a Stress Fracture?

In a runner, a stress fracture, which is a small crack in the bone, is typically caused by overuse. These cracks are, in fact, so small that taking an X-ray of your foot may not provide any useful information. Your doctor should instead perform either an MRI or a bone scan on your foot to help them make an accurate diagnosis. 

Treatment

If your stress fracture is very minor, your doctor may simply recommend that you take a break from running for a few weeks. But if your stress fracture is more severe, your doctor could prescribe a walking boot, crutches or a knee walker from Knee Walker Shops so that you can reduce the amount of weight your foot will have to bear.  

Crutches or Knee Walkers

In the past, most people who needed to keep weight off an affected foot would have to use crutches. But, today, there is a relatively new device known as a knee walker or a knee scooter. This is a rolling platform on which you can rest your knee and then "scoot" from one location to another. If you are undecided whether you should get a knee walker or crutches, you will want to check out the following pros of each device. 

Pros of Using a Knee Walker.  

  • They are easier to use then crutches on flat surfaces, as you can just roll to where you want to go. 
  • No pain or chaffing in your underarm area as you would get when using crutches. 
  • Holds all of the weight of your affected foot off of the ground. When using crutches, some people accidentally put more weight on their affected foot than they realize, which can slow down the healing of your foot or even re-injure it. 

Pros of Using Crutches

  • Easier to use in a building with a lot of steps. 
  • Better for hilly areas. 

Prevention of Future Stress Fractures

Once your foot has healed and you no longer need a knee walker or crutches, it's time to think about ways to prevent future stress fractures. Here are a few tips that will help keep you on your feet:

  • Return to running gradually. Typically, your doctor will recommend a schedule of activities that you can do until it is okay to start running again. For example, your doctor may recommend swimming or using an elliptical machine at first.
  • Buy new running shoes. If you haven't replaced your shoes for a while, they may no longer have the necessary padding and support your feet need when running. 

If you take care of your feet, they will take care of you. So always listen to your "dogs" if they start barking in pain. 


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Protect Your Health

A few years ago, my father visited a dermatologist for the first time in his life. During this visit, he was diagnosed with several skin cancers. Thankfully, my dad’s dermatologist expertly removed these cancerous spots. If you’ve haven’t visited a dermatologist before, consider doing so sooner rather than later. Many forms of skin cancer are completely treatable if they’re detected early. Besides seeing a dermatologist, you should inspect your skin for any changes regularly. This is especially important if you have numerous moles on your body. On this blog, I hope you will discover ingenious tips to help you protect your health. Enjoy!

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