Is your foot fracture an early sign of osteoporosis?
Many of our patients are unaware that unexplained foot pain or foot fracture can actually be an early sign of osteoporosis, a bone thinning disease that is blamed for 1.5 million bone fractures each year. Osteoporosis is referred to as the "silent crippler" since it often progresses without any symptoms or isn't diagnosed until a person experiences pain from a bone fracture. This is true because bones with osteoporosis are in a weakened state and normal weight-bearing actions, like walking, can cause the bones in the foot to break.
In fact, many of our patients visit our office suffering from foot pain only to find out they actually have a hairline break in the bone (stress fracture), without having experienced an injury.
While osteoporosis is most commonly seen in women over age 50, younger people and men are also affected. Early symptoms can include increased pain with walking accompanied by redness and swelling on the top of the foot. Oftentimes we notice patients don't seek treatment for their symptoms for weeks or even months, thinking the pain will pass. Our best advice: don't ignore foot pain of any type; early intervention can make all the difference inyour treatment and recovery.
If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, it's important to protect your feet from stress fractures. Our office recommends you wear shoes that provide support and cushioning, such as athletic running shoes, to provide extra shock absorption and protection. When starting your workout, remember these tips to keep your feet safe and comfortable:
1. Wear shoes designed for the exercise or sport -- Athletic shoes that support your arch and cushion the heel are best to wear. Custom orthotics may also help provide the extra support you may need. Make sure you have your feet measured and wear the proper size for the best comfort and fit.
2. Start new workouts gradually -- Be sure to stretch or warm up for yourworkout and start new exercise routines gradually. We recommend increasingyour exercise intensity by only 10 percent each week. If your feet do get sore,use rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.).
3. Protect your feet from bacteria -- Sweaty shoes and public showers at thegym are breeding grounds for bacteria, including resistant strains like MRSA(methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Never go barefoot while in publicareas and be sure to cover cuts and cracks in the skin or ingrown toenails tohelp keep out the germs. If you have a cut or scrape that gets infected and it's not healing in a timely manner, don't hesitate to call our office to have it checked out.
4.Keep Your Feet Fit in the New Year--Custom orthotics may also help to protect the foot from pressure and provide shock absorption, particularly during exercise.
If you are suffering from unexplained foot pain, don't ignore it. Call our office for a complete evaluation.