Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone as a result of injury. These cracks are caused by repetitive force applied to the bone, often by overuse.
Stress fractures are most commonly found in the weight bearing bones of the lower body, including the ankle. They are common among athletes who apply unusual stress to the afflicted area. Bones weakened by disease, such as osteoporosis, may experience stress fractures with normal use.
Symptoms of stress fractures of the ankle may include pain and swelling. These symptoms may not be noticeable at first, but may arise and worsen with continued overuse of the ankle. Symptoms may also be more noticeable during activities involved with the ankle and may subside during rest.
Your doctor will typically begin diagnosis for stress fractures of the ankle with a physical examination. The doctor will look for swelling and tenderness, as well as your range of motion and signs of pain. In most cases, however, imaging tests may be required to confirm the diagnosis, these may include:
• Bone scan
• CT scan (computerized tomography)
• MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
Treatment for a stress fracture of the ankle may begin with immobilization and rest. Certain medications may help reduce the pain. Physical therapy may also be used as a treatment option, including the use of a walking boot or crutches to keep weight off of the ankle.
On rare occasions, treatment of severe stress fractures of the ankle may require surgery. Continued physical therapy may also be required as part of the rehabilitation plan following a surgical proced