People who are active runners do so because it is a healthy exercise and is very enjoyable. However, some may experience pain at the ball of their foot after years of running. When excessive stress is placed upon the ball of the foot, a small fracture known as a stress fracture may occur at the ball of the foot making exercising very difficult. Usually, the injury is so subtle that you may not recall any specific occurrence. These fractures were at one time referred to as "March Fractures" in soldiers, who developed foot pain after long periods of marching. Stress fractures can occur during sports activities, in overweight individuals, or in those with weakened bones such as osteoporosis.
If you visit your podiatrist he or she will take a full history and physical on you. Your podiatrist will usually take X-rays. However if they are taken during the first two to three weeks after the injury often will not show any fracture. In more extreme cases you doctor may order a bone scan to be done if need be.
Treatment for a metatarsal stress fracture usually consists of rest, elevation, and ice initially. Sometimes a compression bandage is applied to help reduce the swelling. Frequently a post-operative type shoe or cam-walker is used to prevent you from pushing off the ball of your foot, thus eliminating any additional stress while the bone is healing. Occasionally a short leg walking cast may be applied for a short period of time. Typical healing times range from 4 to 8 weeks. After the fracture is healed, special attention should be paid to using a well-padded insole or even a possible orthotic insert in your running shoes.
A podiatrist is the only person that is trained in a specialized field in medicine for anything concerning the lower extremity, foot and ankle, that’s why it is important for you to visit your podiatrist if there are any problems concerning your feet. In the case of pediatric foot care it is always good to get it detected and dealt with before it affects your quality of life. If there you have any other questions feel free to contact Dr. Theall’s and Dr. Saleh’s Gentle Touch Foot Care office for all your foot and ankle needs and concerns at 973 673 – 3668.