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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Foot Possible Stress Fractures: Email Advice

hi doc,

i'm a former patient (i can't remember when exactly, but it has been a while). at the time i was seeing you, i had problems w/ stress fractures in both feet (revealed via MRI). you had me do contrast baths, taping, wearing orthotics and i had to wear a walking boot at one time or another on either foot.

during a recent tennis match, i was forced to make a shot which had me land a bit awkwardly on my left foot. i felt "something" right away, but it wasn't enough to prohibit me from playing the remainder of the match. since then, i've felt some things that make me think (more like know) that my left foot is broken. i've had the same type of throbbing at night that has kept me awake at night on the top and bottom of the ball area of the foot. there is no swelling, only slight discomfort when walking - pain in the 3-4 range that varies during the day - and the pain is not constant.

i've been able to play tennis, but i've been taping my foot (amazing how i remembered to do it just like that!) for support.

think it's best to actually come in or do you think i can just tape and immobilize for a while to see if that has any positive effect (or possibly no effect)?


very truly yours,

Dr Blake's comment:

     Ralph (name changed), thanks for the email. It is so difficult to play tennis (or most sports) with a stress fracture, that you either have a small one, or just a sprain of the ligaments. I agree that it sounds like a stress fracture however by how sudden it came on. These scenarios are always stress fractures until proven otherwise. Stress fractures always give swelling, but with some of the deep ones, you can never see the deep swelling. Small stress fractures, if given time to heal, normally take 3 months to heal. So, you can wait the 3 months, and if you are not appreciably better, than let's take some xrays. Read my blog post on Good vs Bad Pain, and avoid bad pain. No limping or sharp pain while playing or you will hurt something worse like your knee. If wearing the old removable boot during the work day makes it feel a lot better, I would do that (even for 4 hour periods can rest the area and help healing). Remember to get 1500 mg Calcium and 1000 units Vit D, check the foods you eat for average amounts and supplement if you have to. If tape helps, tape daily for 2 weeks longer than you think you need too. 3 times daily work on the inflammation with 10 minute ice packs and/or contrast baths. I sure hope this helps. Rich

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Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.