>Health and Nutrition>Possible stress fracture
Hi, I feel that I may have a mild stress fracture in my left foot. I felt a sudden severe pain during a run so i stopped. For the past two days I have only carefully walked on it, and when I walked, it would hurt a little bit, but not too bad. Now, the pain has pretty much gone away after two days and I can only barely feel the pain in my foot when I walk for longer than like 20 min straight. However, I have read that pain due to stress fractures tend to go away, so I am still wary. Basically, my question is do you think I have a stress fracture, and if I do, how long is the shortest possible recovery time? Because if I do have a fracture, I think it is very mild and I have my first marathon coming up in about 6 weeks, so I want to get back in time for that.
Thanks for any input
Certainly, I am not a doc but this does not sound like a stress fracture. It sounds like a minor stress reaction or perhaps a soft tissue injury. My feeling is that once you are pain free for 7 days walking, you can give it a try but I would go easy on the treadmill for a few miles. I would also try to soak that foot in a hot tub or hot water or get it nice and loosened up just in case it is soft tissue issue. This would loosen it up to prevent more microtearing during your run. If you get through an easy short run with minimal or discomfort, you should be fine. If feel discomfort within your first half mile, stop! You will need more time, perhaps another week or two where you would cross train like crazy. You should be doing this now also. I have had these things pop up before during a race, try to come back in a couple days but it was too soon. If I then gave it 7-10 day, I was good to go.
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I'm not a Doc but had a stress reaction in 5th metatarsal in my right foot. The "test" would be first to walk barefoot on your toes -- you will know right away since if this is a stress reaction/fracture you'll feel sharp pain immediately and will not be able to place your weight on your left foot when up on all toes.
As a fyi the pain will go away somewhat when your in shoes and walking as your foot is somewhat supported (but if it is a stress reaction your bone is still swollen and trying to repair itself and if you attempt to run it will quickly worsen).
If your able to walk on your toes w/out pain, then this could be something soft tissue (ice/ice/ice) and either take calcium or double your current calcium intake for a while (I would keep testing this out each day just to be sure).
If you have that sharp pain (and can't put all your weight on your left foot), you should go see a Doc and the likely remedy will be to put you in a boot for 10 days to 3 weeks, and then, assuming you have no pain walking barefoot on your toes after the boot comes off, it will probably be another 1-2 weeks before you can contemplate running again (i.e., it takes about 3-4 days to walk "normally" after you've been in a boot for more than a week, and then another week or so after to begin a walking regimen where you gradually speed up your walks and distance taking days off). You can do pool running (and swim) while in the boot. If your not careful about this, the stress "reaction" can become a full-on fracture or break -- in this case, double the time-frames above, triple the Doctor visits since you have the risk of the break not mending, and you're likely to be on crutches for first week or two before going into a boot (which will make your life very very difficult).
Thanks guys I appreciate the advice
I had a third metatarsal stress fracture in the fall. There are actually varying degrees, so the level of pain isn't always an indicator. A good test is the hop test. If you can hop on that foot unaided, it's unlikely to be a stress fracture. Also, if you can press on the point of injury with no pain, it's a good sign of not a stress fracture.
This is about one of the best informational articles I read about stress fractures: http://camilleherron.com/2011/05/11/overcoming-stress-fractures/
My stress fracture was acute, they even thought it was a full fracture (I call it a stress fracture to make myself feel better!). I was doing short/slow runs after about 4.5 weeks. I'm not a doctor though--if it's worrying you, definitely have it checked out. But hopefully you're good to go by marathon time!!
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