Maria Menounos the Machine: Stress Fracture

There’s been a lot of buzz lately around Maria Menounos’ recent performance on Dancing with the Stars despite apparent injuries to both feet. I must admit I’m not a big fan of the show, although I give major props to anyone who can pull off those moves in front of a national audience - especially with a stress fracture.

So what is a stress fracture anyway?

Well, since you asked, a stress fracture is a break in a normal bone caused by abnormal activity. Constant pressure causes it to break down and eventually fracture. This may be secondary to a new exercise routine, different shoes, a job in the big city, or just everyday wear and tear. Most commonly, stress fractures are seen in weight-bearing areas of the foot - especially the second metatarsal. Typically, patients in my NYC podiatry office complain of swelling and pain in the affected foot, and often bring an X-ray that shows no evidence of any fracture. However, a negative X-ray doesn’t rule out a stress fracture. It usually takes about 2 weeks for fractures to become evident on X-rays, since the healing process is the first sign of injury. That’s why I always obtain a repeat X-ray in my NYC office whenever I suspect a stress fracture.

How is this treated?

The good news is that these injuries heal very well. Unlike fractures from more forceful trauma, the fracture is generally non-displaced, meaning the fragments are aligned well, allowing the body to mend the pieces relatively quickly. This rarely requires a cast, and patients can typically walk immediately in a boot. Full healing takes about 3-6 weeks, but most patients are able to walk in a comfortable shoe within 3-4 weeks of the original injury. Activity is allowed, and though it usually doesn’t involve competitive dancing, as an active runner who slogs through aches and pains, I understand Maria’s desire to push the envelope a little.

So if you have an achy swollen foot that’s not getting better, and an X-ray showing nothing’s wrong, it’s a good idea to get it checked out by a podiatrist. Better to invest some downtime to allow an injured foot to heal in order to minimize downtime in the long term. Don’t worry, as a runner, I feel your pain, and promise to keep the downtime to a minimum.

See you in the office.

Ernest L. Isaacson, DPM

Ernest Isaacson Dr. Ernest Isaacson is a graduate of the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. After completing two years of comprehensive training in various medical specialties including internal medicine, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, vascular surgery, plastic surgery and podiatric medicine, Dr. Isaacson completed a comprehensive one-year podiatric surgical residency. Dr. Isaacson is active in research and publication in basic and clinical science. Dr. Isaacson is also a dedicated family man who enjoys running, reading and spending time with his family.

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