Stress fractures—small breaks in the bone—occur most commonly in the foot and leg. Repeated stress and pressure on the foot makes it vulnerable to fracture. While many fractures respond well to conservative measures, some require surgical repair.
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Most fractures heal without serious intervention but fractures that experience nonunion might need surgery. Nonunion fractures have failed to achieve normal bone healing. According to the Cleveland Clinic, fractures in the fifth metatarsal (long bones of the foot) have a higher risk of nonunion.
Goals for surgery include promoting healthy blood flow to the site, stabilising the foot and stimulating a healing response, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The actual procedure typically involves removing any damaged bone or tissue, stabilising the foot with pins, bones or screws and a bone graft—placing healthy bone tissue near the injury. This tissue usually comes from the pelvis.
After the surgery, you will need to sleep with your upper body elevated. Use acetaminophen for pain relief—using NSAIDS like naproxen sodium, ibuprofen and aspirin can delay bone healing as will smoking. Heat will encourage blood circulation and healing while your cast is on—massage the area with ice after it is removed.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, doctors can determine recovery time based on post-surgery X-rays.
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