Stress fractures are the most common type of injuries caused due to overuse in athletes and military recruits. Moreover, lower extremity bone fractures are often associated with sports and generally involve activities like jumping, running or repetitive stress. Initial diagnosis of fractures can be made by localized bone pain which increases with repetitive use or when weight is applied. Clinical diagnosis of stress fracture is best done by MRI or triple phase nuclear medicine bone scans. Treatment of fractures usually involve resting the injured bone until it is free of pain. Using air splinting for reducing pain and decrease in intensity of exercise is commonly prescribed until complete recovery.
Five Most Common Stress Fractures of Foot and Ankle
Participation in sports and activities requiring running and jumping are the most common causes of stress fractures. Athletics and field sports account for almost 50 percent of stress fracture sports injuries in men and almost 64 percent in women. However, fencing, swimming, golf, softball and hockey have reported very low incidences of stress fractures in general.
● Navicular Stress Fractures – This is a challenge for both the athlete and the orthopedic surgeon due to high risk of nonunion. Due to the peculiar location between blood vessels entering bone on either side, navicular stress fracture in the central third of bone can be very slow to heal. MRI or CT scans are the best imaging tests which can show navicular stress fractures.
● Sesamoid Stress Fractures – These are small bones which are found underneath the ball of the foot. Sesamoid fractures usually occur due to repetitive stress. While nonsurgical treatments are first attempted in this type of bone fractures, surgery is sometimes necessary and involves removing all sasamoid which is involved or screw fixation of the affected area.
● Stress Fractures of Talus – This is a rare stress fracture affecting the lower bone in ankle joint. Stress fractures of the talus are most often experienced by military recruits. Orthopedic surgeons treat such talar fractures strictly by making them non-weight-bearing. fractures of the talus usually involve localized pain along bone in foot or ankle which is not improving but increasing with time.
● Base of Fifth Metatarsal Stress Fractures – This type of stress fracture is most often experienced by soccer and basketball players. Sometimes base of fifth metatarsal fractures can be treated with making them non-weight-bearing by putting them in a cast. In other cases this stress fracture is treated with surgery by placing a screw down center of the bone.
● Medial Malleolus Stress Fractures – This region is the bony prominence which is seen inside of the ankle. However, medial malleolus stress fracture injuries are rare but are most often found to occur in athletes and runners of kicking and jumping sports. Some patients of medial malleolus fractures are usually treated with non-weight-bearing casts while internal fixation with screws in order to enable faster recovery.
Affordable Orthopedic Treatments in India
India is an excellent global medical tourism destination for international patients and sportspersons who are concerned with the rising cost of healthcare services in developed countries across the world. Apart from high standard of treatment, orthopedic treatment cost in India is just a fraction of what a patient might end-up paying in countries like Australia, United Kingdom, Canada or United States. Orthopedic treatment in India is therefore an ideal opportunity for overseas patients to save substantial amounts of their hard-earned money while availing the best of treatments at the same time.