Sports Medicine for Feet in South Florida
Foot Pain Specialties
While foot and ankle damage can result from direct impact, twisting, or similar injuries, athletes are also at risk for stress-related conditions associated with repetitive actions and overuse. As both the foot and lower leg are weight-bearing bones, they are especially susceptible to fracture-causing wear-and-tear, which can result in debilitating pain and decreased mobility.
For both professional and recreational athletes, Dr. Weaver provides non-invasive and surgical treatment options for foot and ankle care. In addition, patients receive guidance in the best methods for avoiding re-injury for successful ongoing recovery.
Causes of Stress Fractures
Stress fractures result from overuse, and are common amongst runners, gymnasts, dancers, and court-based athletes. As muscles become exhausted, they are unable to provide support for the body’s movements, resulting in increased shock to bone and joint structures. Over time, small fractures can emerge, especially within the heel, second and third metatarsals, outer fibula, and upper midfoot.
In the prevention of stress fractures, special attention should be paid to the frequency, duration, and intensity level of physical activity. Likewise, dependent upon the exercise plan undertaken, specific equipment, training techniques, and workout environments should be utilized to avoid injury.
Beyond sports-related wear, osteoporosis and a subsequent loss of bone density may also be to blame for any pain or discomfort present.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Regardless of the primary cause, the symptoms of stress fractures are generally consistent across patient groups. Common signs of this condition include:
- Pain worsened by activity
- Pain grows progressively more frequent and severe
- Swelling of the foot and/or ankle
- Tenderness to touch at the fracture site
- Visible bruising / discoloration
If the symptoms of stress fractures are present, Dr. Weaver will proceed in the completion of a more complex examination process. Initial efforts will include the taking of a medical history, especially details pertaining to the specific foot and ankle symptoms present. Based on the outcome of further strength and flexibility tests, imaging efforts, such as an x-ray or MRI (magnetic resonance image) may be recommended.
Treatment and Recovery
One of the first steps in recovering from stress fractures is to refrain from damaging physical activities, especially those resulting in repetitive pressure upon the feet and ankles. The RICE approach of rest, ice, compression, and elevation may be suggested to reduce swelling and halt the progression of damage.
Depending on fracture location, additional non-invasive methods may be recommended to encourage bone recovery and healing. Protective footwear or casts can provide the support needed to secure the foot and ankle, decreasing the likelihood of detrimental movements. Crutches may also be used to prevent undue weight being placed on the injured area during the recovery process.
While non-invasive techniques are often successful in the treatment of stress fractures, Dr. Weaver may suggest surgery in more advanced cases. If this level of intervention is required, pins, screws, or other fasteners may be used to secure the bones for optimal healing.
Regardless of the final treatment approach undertaken, stress fractures are a serious injury and should be the subject of attentive care. If untreated, these injuries may advance, resulting in more detrimental bone breaks and subsequent disability. Based on the location and severity of each unique case, Dr. Weaver will recommend a best approach for care, ensuring a faster and more pain free return to both everyday and recreational activities.
Sports Medicine Expertise: Dr. Jamie Weaver
One of South Florida’s leading orthopaedic surgeons, Dr. Weaver specializes in sports medicine and the care of activity-related injuries. To schedule an appointment, contact the Joint Replacement Institute’s Naples, FL office at 239-261-2663.