If I can walk, could I still have a broken bone?

"Today, I’d like to talk a little bit about stress fractures. What exactly is a stress fracture? A stress fracture is when there is repetitive stress over a period of time to a particular area, in this case the bone, which weakens the bone. It’s analogous to if you took a paper clip and you start bending the paper clip – it eventually will weaken and break. This is what can happen if there’s increased pressure to certain parts of the bone in the foot, over a period of time, causing you to get a small crack in the bone, which causes the bone to have a small break, and what we call a stress fracture. Just because you can walk on a bone doesn’t mean that it is not broken. Typically patients who have a stress fracture will come in complaining of a soreness in their foot that seems to swell as the day goes on. It’s not too bad in the morning as far as swelling goes, but it does hurt when they get up, and the more they’re on their foot, walking, or doing any kind of activity, the swelling increases and the pain increases.

Usually they’ll come in after a week to ten days or two weeks, and it’s not getting any better with icing it or taking some over the counter medications like Advil or Motrin. They usually come in saying, “I know it’s not broken, but what is it?”. We can take an x-ray. Sometimes the x-rays are non-conclusive at that point and we’ll do an ultrasound, which is much more specific and we can see small little cracks in the bone and get you diagnosed and treated properly. If you’ve been having these symptoms that have not responded to your own, contact our office. The earlier we can see you and diagnose you, we’ll get you back on your feet quicker with less disability."

Dr. Harvey Danciger
Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle