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Active Foot & Ankle Treats Stress Fractures in Seattle & Edmonds

Heel Stress FractureHeel Fracture

Stress Fracture of the Heel

Stress fracture is a painful microscopic reorganization of bone. Most stress fractures occur in the foot and follow a period of increased activity. Usually they are preceded by beginning a new exercise routine, working overtime, running a marathon or following a vacation where an unusual amount of walking is done. There is generally a reluctance to bear weight on the affected bone. Someone with a stress fracture of the heel will tend to walk on the forefoot. There may be aching at night or at the end of a long day.

Diagnosis of a stress fracture

Diagnosis is made by taking a careful history and doing a physical exam. X-ray is usually negative for the first one to two weeks, but either a bone scan or an MRI will show positive within about 48 hours. There is also a "pre-stress fracture syndrome" where a bone is starting to hurt but does not ever fully manifest on X-ray. Pre stress fracture syndrome requires a shorter duration of treatment.

Treatment for a stress fracture

Treatment is immobilization and non weight bearing and this can be done in a variety of ways. The goal is to heal the stress fracture while maintaining the requirements of daily living. The use of a removable fracture boot with inflatable air bellows on both sides of the leg is one of the best types of treatment. Inflating the air bellows can transfer about 30 percent of the weight to the surface of the leg and the inside of the boot can be customized in the office to further "unweight" the affected bone.

Removable cast boot helps stress fracture

The removable cast boot can be taken off for sleeping, showering and driving. The more completely that weight is taken off of the healing bone, the faster the bone will heal. The range for non or partial weight bearing treatment is two or three weeks for a pre stress fracture and up to twelve weeks or more for a fully expressed stress fracture.

Longer healing times are usually the result of not being able to keep weight off of the affected foot because of the demands of a difficult job. Stress fracture of the heel requires a more stringent treatment regimen of non weight bearing than does the stress fracture of a forefoot bone.

Posted by Mark A. Kuzel, DPM, FACFAS on September 10, 2010

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At Active Foot & Ankle Center, we are committed to providing you the highest quality foot & ankle care. Our board certified doctors have over 15+ years of experience in Seattle, Edmonds, and throughout Western Washington. We are ready to serve all of your foot and ankle needs. Find out more by browsing our website, then contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

Doctors for ankle or foot pain

Meet the doctor

Mark Kuzel

Mark Kuzel


Dr. Kuzel has been in practice since 1992 and has been board certified since 1998.

Questions? Call us at 206-528-0100 at our Seattle office or 425-775-1505 in Edmonds.

Seattle / Edmonds Foot Doctor, Podiatrist, Prescription Orthotics
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Active Foot and Ankle Center
Your Seattle Foot Pain Specialist


1545 N.E. 65th Street
Seattle, WA, 98115

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