The ankle joint is a vital component of your foot and its ability for movement. It allows you the freedom of movement necessary when performing daily activities or exercises. Ankles have a great amount of pressure and stress applied daily, especially for those who engage in athletic activities.
An ankle can only handle so much pressure and strain in some situations before it finally gives way. A fractured bone can be a very serious condition, depending on the severity of the bone break and the affected bones involved. Several broken bone types can occur in the ankle region, including stress fractures, fibula fractures, avulsion fractures, and trimalleolar fractures.
At Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute in Saratoga Springs, our experienced podiatrists have seen fractures resulting from physical activity or other common risk factors for having an injured bone. We frequently see many stress fractures, especially in patients who place repetitive stress on their ankles through sporting events and certain occupations.
Stress Fractured Ankle
An ankle stress fracture is also known as a hairline fracture. When you develop stress fractures in your ankles, there are small cracks in the bone or major bruising. Typically stress fractures are caused by overuse and repetitive forces such as running or playing basketball. The force applied over time will weaken and fatigue any bone, including those in your foot or ankle. This is when you’ll start to notice pain from a stress fracture – it can happen anywhere!
Signs of Stress Fractures
Depending on the extent of the stress fracture, patients will commonly report feeling serious pain in the ankle area and swelling or bruising at the injury site or on top of the foot. You may also experience pain relief when resting (not on your feet) and aching or tenderness that worsens during strenuous activity.
It can be difficult to discern if you are dealing with an ankle stress fracture or a sprained ankle because many symptoms are similar. It will take a bone scan to determine the condition conclusively.
How Do Overuse Injuries Occur?
When an individual participates in high-impact sports such as football or high-intensity interval training, the stress on the ankles is great. Over time, the pressure can weaken the ankle bone and eventually cause a fracture. Most stress fractures, in general, are caused by one of two methods: repetitive force and motion in the ankle or an underlying condition that results in weakened bone density, such as osteoporosis.
The other way that a stress fracture can occur is through an underlying condition such as osteoporosis that weakens the bone density to withstand normal kinds of impact pressure placed on the ankle. A stress fracture can affect the foot and ankle in these situations, and individuals will have to work to prevent early muscle fatigue and stress fractures.
Can You Walk on a Stress Fracture in the Ankle Joint?
Some patients do not even realize that they have a severe injury such as a stress fracture because the pain continues only when the activity occurs. When they rest, the pain often goes away. They may also think that the injury is nothing more than a strain or sprain in the ankle.
Roger’s Foot and Ankle Institute understands that an injury to any part of your foot can be painful and distressing. It is best to make an appointment with an experienced foot doctor to find out what is causing pain and how you can get back to a pain-free life. Our trained professionals recommend removing yourself from walking or performing strenuous physical activities if you believe this is what’s causing discomfort for you.
What Kind of Bone Scan Is Used to Detect a Stress Fracture?
When you come to our podiatrist’s office for an appointment, we’ll begin by asking questions about your pain and how it started. Following this and a physical examination of the ankle, we will order x-rays of the affected area.
The x-ray will either show a stress fracture or the calcification resulting from new bone growth (a natural healing process for the bones). If the x-ray is not conclusive, we may also order an M.R.I. to provide more information not shown on the x-ray.
Treatments for Stress Fractures
In general, stress fractures will heal properly on their own as long as you refrain from engaging in physical activity for a time. You can also follow the R.I.C.E. method (rest, ice, compression, elevation).
If you feel pain and swelling or inflammation, you can take over-the-counter acetaminophen rather than NSAIDs such as ibuprofen to ensure that the bone can heal independently. You may also need to wear a removable walking boot or stiff-soled shoe to prevent unnatural ankle movements as the stress fracture heals.
Contact Our Foot and Ankle Experts in Saratoga Springs, UT
If you are experiencing pain and discomfort resulting from a stress fracture or other type of bone break in your ankle or foot, contact Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute. Our team is here to diagnose your condition and ensure that you can return to a normal, healthy life, free from pain.
We understand the challenges associated with foot and ankle pain. Our doctors do everything they can to ensure that you can engage in the sports and other activities you love as quickly as possible. Call Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute in Saratoga Springs at 801-756-4200 to schedule your appointment.