How could I get a bone bruise from wearing a boot for a stress fracture in my fifth metatarsal? It's taking forever to go away, and I can't dance full-out. Help!
—Anonymous, New York, NY
A metatarsal injury like yours (aka the "dancer's fracture") typically needs six to eight weeks to heal in a short boot that's removable at night.
Unfortunately, a bone bruise can sometimes form if you do too much walking. This happens because the boot, which protects your forefoot by preventing you from lifting your heel, forces you to walk flat-footed, with the boot pressing against the front of your shinbone.
The only way to confirm the bruise is with an MRI. Once you're out of the boot, it can take months for a bone bruise to fully heal. Orthopedists recommend that you limit jumping in class and stay in shape with weight training and nonimpact aerobics, like swimming. You'll need to be patient to allow your body to heal properly.
Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.