Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What will happen if I have a stress fracture?"
My foot has been hurting for 3 months. I think I have a stress fracture or something. What would a doctor do about it if I did? Is there anything that can be done three months later?
Stress fractures can be very painful and disruptive to your daily activities. The first thing to do when you've been having foot pain for as long as you describe is to see a physician right away. Your primary care physician can likely refer you to an orthopedist who specializes in the foot and ankle. Any doctor you see will want to take a thorough history about the pain, when it started, and what kind of activities exacerbate it. He or she will also want to examine the foot to see if your pain is most consistent with a bony or soft tissue injury. Finally, you will likely need some kind of imaging studies, probably starting with plain x-rays. Further imaging may also be needed. If you do have a stress fracture, treatment depends upon where in the bone it is located. Most stress fractures are treated conservatively, with rest and a decrease in activity. Many patients with stress fractures have to use walking casts or crutches to take the strain off the bone. However, some stress fractures do need surgery to pin if they are in a high-risk location. It is important to have good follow-up with an orthopedist if you do have a stress fracture because without appropriate treatment and monitoring, they can progress to more serious injuries.
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