We stress and strain our feet with every step we take, and over time all this pressure can manifest into what’s known as a stress fracture. A stress fracture is a small crack in one of the weight-bearing bones of the foot, and although they may be tiny, they can cause plenty of problems for your feet, especially among dancers, athletes or anyone who works on their feet.
While they may not be one of the most severe injuries, they are one that you need to treat proactively, because if you just try to push through the pain, discomfort may never fully resolve. And while there may be a couple different courses of treatment for stress fractures of the foot, almost all of them will involve some form of physical therapy. We explain why PT is very beneficial for patients recovering from a foot stress fracture in this blog.
Recovering From A Stress Fracture In The Foot
One of the primary goals of treating a stress fracture is to take pressure off of the injured foot, which means you’re going to have to be off your feet for a bit. Rest is a common component for stress fractures, but patients may get this rest in different ways. Some stress fractures can be treated with activity modifications alone, whereas others need casts, walking boots or instructions to not bear weight through the foot for a certain time period. A small portion of patients require surgery to address their fracture, and then they are guided through a non weight-bearing or a limited weight-bearing rehab structure.
Once enough time has passed and the fracture has done enough healing, it’s time to get back on your feet. But it’s not good enough to just get back to your normal activities, you need to go to physical therapy. That’s because physical therapy is specifically designed to reverse the effects that immobilization has had on your foot. For example, muscles have atrophied, supportive soft tissues have weakened and range of motion has likely decreased. Normal movements can somewhat help to reverse these trends, but it’s best to target them specifically with physical therapy exercises.
Physical therapy can also help to:
- Increase blood flow
- Restore stability in the foot
- Improve gait
- Reduce inflammation and swelling
- Decrease and eliminate pain
- Return to pre-injury levels of fitness
The last point is key, especially for people who regularly rely on their abilities to have a quick first step or to jump or run. Physical therapy can help you get back to a pre-injury level of fitness or even help you come back stronger than you were before, which can make all the difference during athletic activity. Let our staff help you get back in the game following a stress fracture in your foot.
For more information, or to set up a consultation with one of our physical therapists, reach out to OrthoRehab Specialists today.