Recognizing Stress Fractures

Eugene Pascarella
Dr. Eugene Pascarella, with a desire to help people, began Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida in July 1984.

Malcolm Gladwell is a renowned, critically-acclaimed author who seeks to explain social phenomena. In his first book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Gladwell makes the case that the origin of many major social trends and events can be pinpointed to a moment when smaller things added up and led to something bigger.lower leg stress fractures can be painful

Given that we are looking at how to recognize stress fractures (which are essentially broken bones), it’s appropriate to note that one of the examples Gladwell uses in his book is the “broken window” theory.

Put simply, he makes the case that an unrepaired broken window can potentially be a starting point for an increase in criminal activity in a neighborhood. The window becomes a sign, whether right or wrong, that the people in the house—and neighborhood (by association)—don’t care. In turn, this leads to further negligence and an enforcement of the message that “rules don’t apply here.”

Much like this, and other examples cited in Gladwell’s book, stress fractures are small but can cause symptoms and contribute to larger problems when left untreated. Your starting point in receiving the treatment you need is to be familiar with stress fracture symptoms like:

  • Pain – This is often barely noticeable at first, but it will worsen in time.
  • Tenderness – Usually tenderness starts in a specific area, and then it decreases during periods of rest.
  • Swelling – The body will flood the injured area, which leads to swelling.

Stress fractures develop in response to an accumulation of physical forces over time. When physical activity is intense, or duration of sessions is long, it doesn’t take much time for the problem to arise. Fatigued bone tissue is unable to handle the force loads it can when rested. In a similar fashion, muscles help to absorb some of the shock from high-impact activities, but they are unable to do so when fatigued themselves.

To prevent stress fractures, be sure to avoid excessive physical activity, especially high-impact ones like running and jumping. Wearing proper footwear and cross-training are two ways to lower your stress fracture risk as well.

If you are experiencing any of those stress fracture symptoms—and especially if you either have recently started an intense workout program or ramped up your existing one—contact Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida. We provide an array of podiatric services, including treatment for sports-related foot and ankle injuries. Either contact our Florida offices online or give us a call at 407-339-7759 (or 352-589-9550 if you call from Lake County) today!

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