What is a calcaneal stress fracture?
If you have a calcaneal stress fracture, that means you have a hairline fracture of the big heel bone. This is usually caused by overuse and is common in soldiers who march for long distances and road runners. Treatment will typically involve six to eight weeks of rest followed by a gradual return to full training and fitness.
It is the second most common stress fracture of the foot. An X-ray of the injured bone will not show any sign of fracture until the fracture has actually started to heal which will be around two to three weeks later. It is also possible that a stress fracture will not appear on an X-ray at all. For this reason, bone scans and MRI scans are more likely to be of assistance in diagnosing a calcaneal stress fracture.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of a calcaneal stress fracture can be similar to a bruised heel. The pain will be gradual over time and will be worsened with weight bearing activities such as running or jumping. Your podiatrist at Great Neck Podiatry might diagnose the injury by squeezing the back of the heel from both sides. This will reproduce the pain.
What does treatment consist of?
Treatment for a calcaneal stress fracture will be complete rest for six to eight weeks. When you need to get up and move, use crutches if necessary. It is important to at least use a heel pad or cushioning insole to help protect the heel and allow it to rest properly. While you are at rest, it is important to maintain fitness by non-weight bearing activities such as swimming or cycling.
However, talk to your podiatrist at Great Neck Podiatry in Great Neck, NY before continuing any activity. In some cases, a plaster cast can be applied for two to six weeks if the pain is severe to ensure complete rest. Once you get back into running, it is important to ensure the muscles in the lower leg are stretched and supple.
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