So, what are stress fractures? Stress fractures are tiny cracks that appear in your bones. These injuries are common in the bones in the lower body because these bones are responsible for distributing and bearing your body weight. Feet are particularly vulnerable to stress fractures because they are responsible for absorbing your body weight during normal activities—such as walking, running or jumping.

The most common area affected by stress fractures in Providence in the lower body is the tibia—or shin bone. Also called “shin splints”, this pain is usually felt during physical activity. In reality, shin splints are not stressed fractures—they are the result of muscle pulling away from the bone. When they first appear, patients are advised to stop training altogether because muscle shin splints can actually cause stress fractures.

Symptoms and Causes of Stress Fractures in Providence

Stress fractures are usually the result of an overuse injury and are most commonly experienced in runners and other athletes. Providence stress fractures occur over time due to repetitive forces that occur on weight-bearing bones and supporting muscles. This constant repetition eventually causes small cracks to form in the bone.

Because stress fractures so small, they typically don’t cause any pain at first. However, over time—with enough repetitive motion—pain can develop in the affected area. While repetition and overuse are the most common causes of stress fractures, there are other factors that contribute to their development. Some of these causes include:

  • Biomechanical problems
  • Inflexible or weak muscles
  • Training on the wrong surfaces
  • Wearing improper or ill-fitting footwear
  • Family history of osteoporosis

Diagnosis and Treatment of Stress Fractures in Providence

To diagnose a stress fracture, Dr. Kenneth Segal, our podiatrist in Providence, RI, will discuss your medical history and gather information about your symptoms. Then, he will perform a physical examination where they will check for areas of tenderness and pain. Once located, Dr. Segal, our podiatrist in Providence, may recommend imaging tests, such as an x-ray or an ultrasound, to help confirm the diagnosis.

The treatment depends on the severity of your stress fracture. For mild stress fractures in Providence, Dr. Segal will probably recommend non-surgical treatment. Some of these treatments include:

  • Activity modification
  • Protective footwear
  • Better-fitting footwear
  • Casting
  • Padding
  • Custom orthotics

When a stress fracture does not respond to the above methods, surgery may be recommended. Surgery usually involves inserting some type of fastener—like pins, screws, and/or plates—to support the bones in the foot or shin.

Contact Dr. Kenneth Segal in Providence for stress fracture information. With a proper consultation, Dr. Segal can determine the best form of treatment for your individual condition.