Unexplained foot fractures might be one of the very first symptoms of osteoporosis, a disease that affects well over 28 million people a year and contributes to over 1.5 million bone fractures yearly.
Osteoporosis is often referred to as the “silent crippler” since it typically progresses without any noticeable symptoms and isn’t diagnosed until a person experiences pain from a bone fracture. Dr. Weinert, a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, explains that the porous nature of bones in people with osteoporosis makes them more susceptible to bone fractures, especially in the feet. “Because the bones are in a weakened state, normal weight-bearing actions like walking can cause the bones in the foot to break,” says Dr. Weinert. “In fact, many patients visit their foot and ankle surgeon suffering from foot pain only to find out they actually have a stress fracture, without having experienced an injury.”
While osteoporosis is most commonly seen in women over age 50, anyone can be affected, of either gender and any age. Early symptoms can include redness and swelling on top of the foot accompanied by increased pain with walking. “Oftentimes patients don’t seek treatment for their symptoms for weeks or even months, thinking the pain will pass,” says Dr. Weinert. “The best advice is, don’t ignore foot pain of any type. Early intervention can make all the difference in your treatment and recovery.” Foot pain is not normal, and if you are suffering with pain you should be seen right away.
Foot and ankle surgeons are able to diagnose osteoporosis through bone densitometry tests, which measure calcium and mineral levels in the bones through low-dose radiation x-ray, or possibly through a routine x-ray. “This is why prevention and early intervention are key; women should make sure bone densitometry tests are part of their wellness examinations when indicated by their physicians,” Dr. Weinert explains.
If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, it’s important to protect your feet from stress fractures. Wear shoes that provide support and cushioning, such as athletic running shoes, to provide extra shock absorption and protection. Custom orthotics may also be recommended to protect the foot from pressure and provide shock absorption, particularly during exercise.
If you are suffering from foot pain or suspect you may have osteoporosis, call Dr. Weinert’s office at 248-362-3338 (Troy) or 586-751-3338 (Warren) for an evaluation.
For more information on osteoporosis of the foot, visit the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ website,Foothealthfacts.org or you can visit Dr. Weinerts office website at: www.stopfeetpainfast.com