Question:Our son is in the military and just reported he has a stress fracture of the talus bone in his foot. Will this result in a medical discharge?
Answer:Not likely. A stress fracture (sometimes only referred to as a stress reaction of the bone) usually heals nicely in four to six weeks. The outer covering of the bone called the cortex has a slight crack but the bone is still intact. There are no bone chips. The fracture line has not widened or opened up in any way.
Treatment is usually anti-inflammatory drugs and reduced weight-bearing. The patient uses crutches and keeps the weight off that foot. The patient doesn't usually need a cast or brace of any kind.
Your son will probably have to interrupt his active military training until the bone has healed. About the time the X-ray or MRI shows healing has occurred, the patient's pain has gone and he or she is ready to put more weight on the foot and increase activity level.
A additional period of time is allowed for gradual progression of weight-bearing and exercise to regain strength. Most military recruits with a stress fracture of the foot are back to full duty at the end of eight weeks.Markus J. Sormaala, MD, et al. Outcomes of Stress Fractures of the Talus. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. November 2006. Vol. 34. No. 11. Pp. 1809-1814.
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