Foot & Ankle Surgery located in Fort Worth and Weatherford, TX

5 Signs of an Ankle Stress Fracture

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5 Signs of an Ankle Stress Fracture

Our feet are essential for anything we do standing up or keeping our balance, and injuries that cause ankle fractures can affect your ability to do most things with them. Read on to find the signs of ankle fractures.

There are so many things we rely on our feet to help us do, including standing, walking, jumping, running, and dancing. The 26 bones, 19 muscles, 107 ligaments, 10 tendons, and 33 joints that make up a single foot help us go everywhere, and over our lifetime we’ll have walked about 110,000 miles with both of them. 

Sadly, this also means that foot problems are common (80% of American adults deal with some sort of foot problems over their lifetime) and ankle injuries are a common problem among them. This includes ankle stress fractures, which while common in athletes can affect anyone. If you have this condition, it’ll be important to know what signs to look for, so let’s examine the causes and risk factors of ankle stress fractures, common symptoms to look for, and how they can be treated.

If you live in the Fort Worth or Weatherford, Texas, area and you’re suffering from the signs of ankle stress fractures or other foot injuries, then Drs. Gary Driver, Glen Beede, Gregory Jaryga, and the dedicated medical team at Trinity Foot & Ankle Specialists are here to help.

Causes and risk factors of stress fractures

We use our feet all the time, so it should be no surprise that many injuries (including stress fractures) we deal with in that area are overuse related. This means repetitive stresses on the feet over time can lead to microscopic bone damage that eventually causes fractures. Often the fractures happen in your metatarsals, which are the long bones in your feet between your tarsal bones and the phalanges (bones in your toes).

Many factors can lead to stress factors, including  sudden increased activity, walking on uneven surfaces, bone insufficiency, poor conditioning, improper technique, improper equipment, and changes in playing surfaces.

Common symptoms of stress fractures

Here are some common signs of ankle stress fractures:

1. Tenderness at site of fracture

Also known as pinpoint pain, this is when the specific part of the ankle that’s fractured is very sensitive and tender. Anything that touches that specific spot can lead to intense pain.

2. Bruising

The injured area is also likely to show evidence of bruising and discoloration, which will also be painful to the touch.

3. Inflammation

Inflammation and swelling are also common in these injuries, which can not only be painful but make it hard to wear shoes and socks.

4. Ankle pain

In addition to the pain related to the other symptoms listed, you can also expect to feel either  pain when being active (which often feels better when resting), pain that stays active persistently, or pain bad enough to affect your ability to use that foot. 

5. Stability problems

Depending on the severity of the fracture you may also have problems using the foot, compromising your ability to get around and increasing your fall risk.

Methods of treatment

When managing a fractured ankle, there are several ways to treat the problem. When at home, it’s important to stay off the ankle as much as possible, keep it elevated to reduce swelling, and for the first two days use ice packs (do not put ice directly on the injury) to also help reduce swelling.

To offer stability for the damaged ankle, splints, braces, or casts can be used to immobilize the foot, and protect it as it heals. These may be modified over time as swelling decreases or as the overall injury heals. Pain medications may also be prescribed to alleviate pain, and you’ll likely be asked to stay off the foot as much as possible.

Stress ankle fractures are common and are very treatable, so let us help you get those bones healing as soon as possible. If you’re showing symptoms of this or other foot problems, make an appointment with Drs. Driver, Beede, Jaryga, and Trinity Foot & Ankle Specialists today to get the help you need.