Stress Fractures and Vitamin D

With approximately 25% of all the bones in your body residing in your feet, fractures are an important concern here at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center. A general fracture, one that goes all the way through a bone, usually occurs as the result of an accident or other trauma and is immediately apparent. There is a second kind of fracture, however, that is not always so obvious: a stress fracture. Stress fractures are tiny fissures or cracks in the surface of a bone. They typically occur in the area from the middle of your foot extending to your toes, also called the forefoot.

Symptoms of a stress fracture are similar to those of a general fracture:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising at the site of injury
  • Tenderness
  • Difficulty bearing weight on the affected foot

The difference, however, is in the way the symptoms present. Often with a stress fracture the discomfort will be intermittent; worse when you are active and on your feet and better when you are resting your foot. That’s why it’s important to make an appointment at our Long Beach office if you experience any of the above symptoms even if they don’t seem very intense. Our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas will be able to determine if you have a stress fracture or if your symptoms are due to another condition.

One important way that you can help prevent stress fractures is by making sure that you have an adequate intake of vitamin D. Although calcium seems to get all the credit when it comes to bone strength, it’s actually vitamin D that enables your body to absorb and regulate the calcium.

Many people have a vitamin D deficiency and don’t even realize it. Vitamin D deficiencies are more common if you have one or more of the following factors:

  • Being over 50
  • Limited sun exposure (the sun being a good source of vitamin D)
  • Dark complexion
  • Overweight
  • A medical condition that causes fat malabsorption

Your doctor can do a blood test to check your vitamin D levels.

Other ways to help prevent stress fractures include avoiding injury and repetitive activities that put pressure on the forefoot. If you believe you may have a stress fracture contact us by calling: 562-420-9800.