The majority of us believe that if we were injured in some capacity, we would know. In a lot of instances, this is absolutely true. However, there are other times when we can injure ourselves without realizing the damage that we have done. This is even more problematic because most people, failing to realize that they have injured themselves, run the risk of injuring themselves that much more without proper treatment. Most people can speak to the pain of a broken bone, but their lesser cousin, the hairline fracture, is a condition that has been haunting the human body for some time. Few people realize how easy it is to get hairline fractures in their feet, and this can lead to a worse injury as well as a potential need for extreme treatments. This is one type of injury where listening to your body is very important.
What Is A Hairline Fracture?
Within the world of podiatry, a hairline fracture, also known as a microfracture, is an injury that causes a very small fracture in the areas around your feet and ankles. This unfortunate injury is more common than most people know, and while some people might take a hint and take some time off their foot, others will merely think that they are sore and keep moving. This is where hairline fractures can be dangerous. Though these fractures are less severe than a full break, they still require treatment and must be tended to in order to preserve the integrity of the bone. Understanding when you have a potential hairline fracture can save you a lot of time and money.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Hairline Fracture?
As you might expect, a fractured bone is not a particularly pleasant sensation. The end result of this is pain that varies in severity depending on the injury itself as well as how you treat it. In order to understand how extreme your injury is, pain might help as a gauge, but the only true way to know is by visiting a foot doctor to have the foot checked out. In addition to pain, you can generally expect a wider range of foot-related problems that will alert you to the fact that something is amiss.
Many people experience swelling and bruising, but that is not a guarantee. It is completely possible for you to have a hairline fracture without any indication beyond slight pain. In fact, this is what tends to cause people problems more than anything. Most people will assume that they are sore or potentially came down wrong on their foot. This makes people believe that the foot is more or less fine, which generally means that they will continue to use it like they have been. When this occurs, you run a much larger risk of worsening your injury. Like any injury, hairline fractures require time to heal. If you don’t realize the severity of the problem, chances are you will not give your foot enough time to recover before you end up at the ankle doctor.
What Causes Hairline Fractures?
The majority of hairline fractures are caused by repetitive motions of some kind. This is something that is commonly seen in runners and other kinds of athletes who are not only dependent on their feet, but find themselves exposing their feet to the same motion. While it is possible to obtain them from some sort of impact or through other means, most cases come from people who are engaging in a sport of some kind. Keeping this in mind, having a solid understanding of this sort of injury is absolutely crucial before you start picking up a new activity.
How Can I Prevent Hairline Factures?
As any good foot doctor would say: only you can prevent microfractures. While that is completely true, it is in the majority of cases. The best way to protect yourself against hairline fractures, which can put a serious dent in your workout routine if you’re not careful, is simply to make sure that you give your body enough time to heal. In the same way that you have to consider repetitive motions with muscles in order to avoid straining them, you need to take the time to let your bones recover from impact. This means making sure that you take days off and let your body recover. The best way to make sure that you don’t end up with a hairline fracture is to take the time to let your body bounce back from your feet slamming into sidewalks for miles on end. There can even be some benefit to varying your physical activity to avoid putting too much stress on your feet specifically. Recovery time is crucial to avoid injury. More importantly, if you begin to notice pain in your foot or feet, consider taking a few days off to recover.
How Do You Treat A Hairline Fracture?
In the event that you suspect that you have a hairline fracture, you are definitely in need of a trip to the foot doctor. You will want to have the injury evaluated so that a proper treatment plan can be coordinated based on your case. The treatment options for microfractures vary widely depending on the severity and location of the injury. It might mean that you just need to take some time off of it while keeping it iced and elevated, or it could require a lot more. Depending on your injury, you could require the use of crutches in order to allow your body to heal without further damaging it. In some severe cases, surgery might even be required. This is why it is so important to have a foot doctor evaluate it if you want the best chance of healing.
Hairline fractures are incredibly common among athletes, but somehow the majority of people still find out after it is too late. At Wasatch Foot and Ankle Institute, we see people who come in when they need to, and we see people who could have saved themselves a lot of time and money if they had come in sooner. If you suspect that you might have a microfracture, do yourself a favor and have it checked out. You only get one body, so do what you can to take care of yours.