Stress Fracture in 5th Metatarsal Bone

by Elfi
(Salem, SC)

Hi Elle,

I love your web site and was wondering if you could assist me in healing the stress fracture in my foot. I do yogalates four times a week, keeping my athletic shoes on for protection. Even so, I feel minor symptoms while working out. I also like to spend 30 minutes on an elliptical stepper but am not sure if this is safe. I am told that it could take six months to heal this injury. Due to heart disease I cannot possibly stop my workouts until then. I do not know what caused the fracture. My bone density scan came out normal. I am looking forward to your comments.


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Elle's Response to Elfi's Stress Fracture
by: Elle Bieling, RN, RYT, HHP

Hi Elfi!

There is a reason they call these type of fractures "stress" fractures. It is because they are almost always caused by overuse, as a result of pushing too hard. They are most commonly found in the foot, our weight bearing power house. I am glad that you do NOT have osteoporosis, so this is not the cause. You were wise to check this out. This is especially important if you are post-menopausal.

For more information on the metaphysical cause of your stress fracture read my article called Stepping Out Without Foot Pain.

The only way to speed up your healing is to stay off your foot. I know this is difficult advice for someone with a heart condition that requires activity to stay healthy.

When you have to walk, the supportive, athletic shoes are great. If you have hard surface floors in your home, don't walk around barefoot, but wear the supportive shoes. Also don't wear any type sandal that makes you grip with your toes. No thong-type ones or skinny straps. Find a more supportive one that encompasses most of your foot.

For activity to keep you aerobically fit, I recommend aquatics. Get a cheap "noodle" to use in the deep end of the pool so you can relax and not worry about your breathing. Lie on it with the noodle under your arms, facing forward or backward. Vary the leg/arm strokes, in any manner that your wish, even side stroke if you want.

It doesn't matter if you don't go anywhere as you "swim", just keep moving. This way you can get the work out without the "stress" on your feet. Do not push off the bottom of the pool with your feet. I challenge you to move like this for 30 minutes.

I would not advise you work on the elliptical. This puts way too much stress on your foot. The Yogalate may be OK but ONLY if you don't do the standing poses. There are plenty of poses on your knees, sitting or lying down. DO NOT roll over your toes or put downward pressure on the ball of your foot or you will do more damage.

If you have pain and swelling in your foot simple inversions are good, like "Legs Up the Wall" or the Plow Pose or Shoulder/Head stands if you are comfortable doing those.

If you have job that requires you to be on your feet for most of the day (like nurses) you have a real problem. See your doctor, to get a written prescription to modify your work to a job that is sitting, for now.

Make sure if you take any over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pills for the pain and swelling, like ibuprofen, that you get your cardiac doctor's approval. It may not be warranted with your heart condition, especially if you are on blood thinners.

To help you be calm and stress-free, you can do the "Deep Support and Rejuvenation" body meditation that you can find at Body Meditation Videos.

All the healing energy to you my friend!

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