Ankle Stress or Fatigue Fracture Treatments and Recovery Time?

What is a Stress Fracture in the Ankle?

  • A stress fracture or tiny cracks in the ankle usually involves the calcaneus and the talus bones. The calcaneus is known as the heel bone while the talus is the one that connects the foot to the legs. The fibula and the medial malleolus are also prone to such fractures.

  • Often times, stress fractures in these bones are difficult to heal since pressure is directly applied to the area.

  • The most common cause of the condition is the overuse of the ankle; these are often termed as fatigue fractures. These are generally observed in athletes who jump and run on solid and hard surfaces, like track and field athletes, basketball players, and gymnasts.

  • This condition is diagnosed using medical histories of the patient along with MRIs and bone scans.

  • X-rays will not usually provide any clear results and would take a few weeks to a month before it can offer a good basis for diagnosis.

Ankle Stress Fracture Recovery Time

  • Recovery time usually depends on the bone that has received the fracture and its location.

  • 6 weeks is the average recovery time for those fractures that do not need surgery.

  • For those that have been treated with surgery, recovery will take around 6 months.

Ankle Stress Fracture Treatment

  • One of best ways to treat stress fracture in the ankles is by resting it.

  • When dislocation is not observed, avoid overusing the injured ankle.

  • If dislocation is observed, patients should make sure that any kind of pressure will not be placed on the injured ankle. This can be done by using crutches, application of a cast or a splint, and wearing specialized boots.

  • Cold compress like ice packs can be placed on the affected area.

  • Surgery can be done when pain develops and persists and to make sure that proper healing takes place especially when the fracture occurs in the area where blood supply is limited. Pinning usually is involved.

  • Regular activities that involve the feet and the ankles should be resumed gradually after healing. Low-impact activities like swimming can be done as these do not bear too much pressure on the ankles.

  • Patients should always remember some preventive measures to ensure that the fracture will not harm the ankles again. These include wearing proper footwear, doing cross training, changing the level or intensity of activities slowly, doing strength exercises, and eating nutritious meals that are rich in calcium and other nutrients that make bones strong.

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