Symptoms of a Stress Fracture
Foot pain and swelling
Tenderness over the bone
History of increased walking or standing
Tests to evaluate for a stress fracture
X-ray, Bone Scan, MRI
Sometimes it can take 3-4 weeks after the injury for an X-ray to show anything.
An MRI is not always necessary, especially since the treatment does not usually change.
The advantage of obtaining an MRI is to evaluate for a bone bruise, tendinitis, or periostitis.
When the diagnosis of a stress fracture is ruled out, return to activities is much quicker.
It will be safer to say that you can “push through” the pain.
You should not push through the pain of a stress fracture.
You can form a full fracture of the bone.
What to look for on the X-ray of a stress fracture
On plain radiographs you will be looking for a small crack in the bone and periosteal reaction.
The area around the stress fracture will have a “cloudy” look to it.
When you have a small crack in the bone, the body lays down a callous.
This callous acts like glue.
The more motion there is at the stress fracture, the larger the callous.
This callous is not initially seen on the X-ray and can take up to 3-4 weeks to show up.
Treatment of stress fractures
Rest/Walking in a Tall Walking Boot
Pain free ambulation is a must. Compression with a bandage to decrease swelling
If it still hurts to walk, then crutches are recommended.
After the pain has subsided slow progression can be made to return to physical activity.
It takes bone an average of 6-8 weeks to heal up. Most people will spend about a month in a walking boot. Once out of the boot, pain free ambulation is critical. No high impact activities for at least 2 months.
Surgical treatment of stress fracture
It is rare to need surgery to treat a stress fracture
Sometimes a bone stimulator can be used to speed up healing. Most insurance companies will deny payment of a bone stimulator for a stress fracture.
The cash price of a bone stimulator can be up to $3,000.
If you suspect a stress fracture and wish to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kolodenker in Irvine or Huntington Beach, please call the office.
Last Updated 1-5-2017