By Dr. Jonathan Moore
January 27, 2011
Category: Fractures

Quarterback of the New England Patriots did. Tom Brady underwent foot surgery last week on a stress fracture in his right foot.

Stress Fractures are one of the most common injuries in sports and are caused by overuse. Stress fractures occur when your muscles become fatigued and are unable to absorb added shock, eventually, transferring the stress from your fatigued muscle to your bone causing a tiny crack. This tiny crack is called a stress fracture. Improper footwear is another cause of stress fractures. Most stress fractures occur in the weight bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. Symptoms of stress fractures include: pain with or after normal activity, pain that goes away after rest and then returns with activity, pain at the site of the fracture when touched and swelling but not bruising.

The key thing to remember in dealing with stress fractures is EARLY recognition and EARLY offloading and rest. Offloading is when 100% pressure is taken off of the stress area which can be achieved by either a pneumatic (air filled) boot or a cast. If pressure and stress is NOT relieved around the stressed area, a full break of the bone can occur or a chronic nonunion of the bone.

In cases where the stress fracture is not treated in a timely fashion, surgery is indicated, as in the case of Tom Brady. Brady underwent a procedure where a screw was placed across the fracture site in order to create compression across the two ends of the bone in order to promote healing. Brady will be off of his feet for at least a month, then resume in a walking boot or cast until final healing is achieved in about 6 weeks.

All of these treatments are provided by the board certified experts at Cumberland Foot & Ankle Centers of Kentucky. Locations in Somerset, London,Monticello, Russell Springs and Whitley City, Kentucky.

Here are a few tips to prevent stress fractures:

  • Use good quality equipment. Eliminate the use of worn or old exercise equipment. This includes your shoes. Do not wear old or worn out athletic shoes.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Make sure to include variety of vitamin D and calcium rich foods or take them as supplements. Studies have shown them to be very effective in terms of reducing overuse injuries.
  • Cross-train. Alternate activities that accomplish your fitness goals. A variety of exercises including cardiovascular, flexibility and strength training exercise can help you prevent stress fractures.
  • Slowly add to your exercise routine. If you are adding to the routine or making changes take it slow! Set small incremental goals and work up to your overall goal. Avoid trying to do too much too soon.
  • If you experience pain or swelling, immediately stop your activity and rest. If pain persists, see a podiatrist.

If you are interested in more information on stress fractures or are concerned you may have a stress fracture contact your local Podiatrists at Cumberland Foot & Ankle Centers. 606-679-2773 or toll free 1-800-600-6740. Find us on Facebook and Twitter.

By: Dr. Jonathan Moore