Metatarsal Stress Fracture
When too much stress occurs in the foot from walking or activity or even injury, a stress fracture may occur. It is followed by pain. The metatarsals are the long bones of the foot. The most common metatarsal that is fractured is the 2nd metatarsal. Whenever there is a stress fracture in the foot, there will be pain and swelling in the foot near the fracture. Bruising is common. Any activity that involves the foot worsens the pain. When a tuning fork is placed on the fracture site, the pain worsens. An x-ray will show a stress fracture, but often it is a very slim line of fracture that may be easily missed. Cause Over-pronation of the foot makes it more possible for stress fractures to occur. There are other causes: • too much athletic training with little recovery • too much activity in walking, running, ballet, gymnastics, or other similar sports • incorrect running shoes • shoes without adequate cushioning • faulty biomechanics of the foot • trauma to the foot Treatment and Prevention To recover from a stress fracture, you must reduce weight bearing on the foot. A cast may be required. Activities involving the foot must also be curtailed. Depending on the extent of the stress fracture, surgery may be required. Like other fractures, healing time is a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks. Rehabilitation may be required after the cast is removed. If the cause of the stress fractures is related to faulty biomechanics of the foot, such as with overpronation or alignment of the bones of the foot, orthotic inserts and/or orthotic arch supports will help considerably. Inserts may be cushioned; some of the newest inserts are made of gel that provides the foot with a feeling of walking on “clouds”.