Stress Fracture of the Foot

A stress fracture is a small crack in the bone which occurs from overuse injury. It commonly develops in the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. When the muscles of the foot are overworked, or stressed, they are unable to absorb the stress and transfer it onto the bone, which cracks under the pressure.

Stress fractures result from a rapid increase in the intensity of exercise or sports activities. They can also be caused by a change in the surface of a sports activity (such as changing from soft clay court to hard court in tennis), increased physical activity without adequate rest and wearing worn-out or uncomfortable footwear. Athletes participating in certain sports such as basketball, tennis and gymnastics are at a greater risk of developing stress fractures as they experience repeated stress on the foot each time they land on a hard surface.

The most common symptom of a stress fracture is pain, which usually worsens with activity and decreases with rest. Swelling, bruising, and tenderness may also occur.

Your doctor diagnosis the condition after evaluating your symptoms and risk factors, and performs a thorough examination of the foot and ankle. Diagnostic tests including X-ray, CT, MRI or bone scans may be required to confirm the fracture.

Stress fractures can be treated with non-surgical approaches such as rest, limiting physical activities, wearing protective shoe inserts, and immobilization with casts or braces to allow the injury to heal. Surgery may be required if the fracture does not heal completely with these methods. Your doctor makes an incision over the fracture area and uses internal fixators such as screws, pins or plates to hold the broken bones together until complete healing occurs.

Some of the following measures may help to prevent stress fractures:

  • Start any new sport activity slowly and progress gradually.
  • Cross-training or altering exercises can prevent overstressing one part of the body.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and include calcium and vitamin D-rich foods in your diet.
  • Wear well-fitting and comfortable footwear specifically designed for the sports activity and avoid using old or worn out shoes.

Recent posts

  • Patient Reviews

    Recreational running benefits hip and knee joint health
    20 September, 2017

    Recreational runners are less likely to experience knee and hip osteoarthritis compared to sedentary ..

    Know More

Patient Reviews

  •  Patient Reviews

    blog leftBradley Gilliam performed a major surgery on my son’s knee. Dr. Gilliam has been an amazing doctor. I have never witnessed a doctor taking such...blog right

    Know More
  •  Patient Reviews

    blog leftAbsolutely, hands down the BEST orthopedics office on planet earth! They’re extremely professional while also having the ability to relate...blog right

    Know More
  •  Patient Reviews

    blog leftMy entire family has been a patient at SW Sports Medicine (athletic injury, should and knees) and every time we need their medical assistance... blog right

    Know More
  • Play
  • Pause