Stress Fractures

Definition: a fracture of a bone caused by repeated mechanical stress

Medical terminology: stress fracture

What is a stress fracture?

Stress fractures are small, hairline cracks that could occur in any bone of the foot due to repeated stress. X-rays and other studies can be used to diagnose the stress fracture.

Repetitive stress caused by poor footwear, excessive activity or pressure can cause thin, hair-line cracks in bones. Stress fractures need to be treated quickly to ensure the injury does not progress into a complete fracture of the bone.


Symptoms of a stress fracture

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bruising could be a sign

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Common causes of stress fractures

  •  Over-training or overuse
  • Improper training surfaces (gravel or concrete)
  • Ill-fitting footwear
  • Flatfoot or other foot deformities

How do you treat a stress fracture?

Treatments for stress fractures in the foot usually include rest and immobilization of the foot using methods such as:

  • Cast or removable air-cast
  • Crutches or even wheelchair
  • Custom-made orthotics
  • Orthopedic footwear

A foot specialist or doctor should be seen as early as possible to receive treatment to shorten the recovery time and reduce risk of creating more damage. Without adequate treatment, stress fractures can progress to a fracture in which surgery may be required.