Always bear in mind that a metatarsal stress fracture is a small or partial break in one of the bones in the feet which are the long bones that connect to the toes. Metatarsal stress fractures typically affect the second metatarsal.
Stress fractures are commonly due to overuse injury and one of the prevalent injuries among athletes in various sports. Rest is often prescribed as a form of treatment for stress fractures. An acceptable form of exercise is swimming which involves low-impact. You can register for first aid training today so that you can provide the appropriate measures if a stress fracture is suspected.
What are the symptoms of stress fractures?
A metatarsal stress fracture is due to constant wear and tear on the metatarsal bones. The indications of a stress fracture tend to increase as the individual engages in physical activity and reduces with rest. The signs include tenderness, pain, weakness and swelling. The individual will also find it difficult to bear weight on the affected foot.
What are the causes?
Stress fractures often occur with an increase in the length and intensity of training. Constant pounding movement on the foot including running can also lead to a stress fracture.
Lack of physical condition, conditions such as osteoporosis, running on hard surfaces and bio-mechanical abnormalities will put an individual at higher risk for developing stress fractures. Women and those who had a previous metatarsal stress fracture face a higher risk.
Diagnosing a metatarsal stress fracture
If a stress fracture is suspected, it is diagnosed by a doctor by conducting a physical examination and imaging studies. In most cases, an MRI is often requested to detect a stress fracture.
The treatment for a metatarsal stress fracture includes rest from any activity that led to the fracture. The individual should wear shoes that have a rigid sole. In some cases, the doctor might advise the use of crutches in order to promote healing. In rare cases, surgery might be required.
Take note that stress fractures usually take up to 6-8 weeks to fully heal. During this period, the individual should consult the doctor regarding the possibility of engaging in cross training. The doctor will allow participation in exercises that do not involve the use of the foot or ankle. With cross training, it can help the individual stay in shape while allowing the foot to rest.
Swimming is considered as a form of low-impact activity. By swimming, the individual will benefit from a complete cardiovascular workout without putting stress on the lower extremities including the metatarsal bones. The buoyancy of the water can also help relieve the pain of the stress fracture.
The resistance of the water will allow the individual to exercise that might be painful on land. In order to maintain endurance, the individual should swim for 30 minutes at a time for 5 days in a week. Just remember that swimming will not cause or aggravate an existing metatarsal stress fracture.