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Fatigue Fracture of Metatarsal


Fatigue Fracture of Metatarsal

Symptoms Checklist:

  • Your pain came on gradually
  • Your foot hurts a lot when you walk
  • The pain is concentrated in the longest bone of a toe
  • There is some swelling near the affected toe
  • You have recently increased the amount of running or walking you do
  • You cannot remember getting a blow or the moment it first hurt

Stress Fracture

Each of your feet is made up of 26 bones held together by ligaments.  The foot is a tremendously clever piece of engineering designed to spread and absorb the weight of your body evenly when you stand or walk.  It is very flexible adapting to uneven ground so you don’t stumble on rough patches.  By tensing your foot muscles you can change it from being flexible to being rigid.  When one of the bones in your foot break from overuse it is called a stress fracture.  This often happens to soldiers who do a long march when their feet are not used to it and then it is called “March Fracture”.  Instead of the weight being transferred evenly, one of the muscles of the foot has become “tired” and can no longer absorb the pressure.  Instead the pressure goes directly onto a bone which eventually breaks.  On an x-ray, a tiny break shows up called a “Hairline Fracture”.  Stress fractures can occur in any bone, but most appear near the 2nd and 3rd toes.  (Your big toe is the 1st toe).  Apart from too much walking or running, other things can make your toes susceptible: poor diet, done disease like osteoporosis and changing from exercising on softer surfaces to harder.

Physical Therapy/Osteopathy and Stress Fractures

Once you suspect a stress fracture or have had it diagnosed, maybe by x-ray, the best thing is to rest for 4 weeks.  You can still exercise your foot and toes without aggravating the problem and your therapist will show you these exercises.  However, had your foot been in proper shape, it is unlikely the problem would have arisen in the first place!  A thorough assessment of your foot will help pinpoint the muscles that are weak and these can be treated to prevent the problem recurring.  You will also need to be careful in returning to activity, gradually building up the amount of exercise you take.

Tags: Arms and Legs, Lower Body, Feet, Ankle Sprain or Strain, Muscle sprain or strain, Sports Injuries

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