Tuesday, 18 July 2023 00:00

Symptoms and Causes of Stress Fractures

An injury that is common to dancers, runners, and athletes involved in high-impact sports is stress fractures. A stress fracture is a hairline crack in a bone, often located in the feet. The majority of stress fractures occur in the metatarsals, but can also be felt in the heel and sometimes the ankle. At first, it may feel like a minor pain or ache in a specific area of the foot. Usually, no visible sign of an injury is present, possibly making it easy to dismiss. Over time, however, pain from a stress fracture will escalate, especially when the activity that has caused it is continued. Eventually, the pain becomes so great that the ability to stand or move becomes inhibited. The main cause of stress fractures is repeated pressure on the affected bone or bones. Other reasons stress fractures can happen include starting a new activity, increasing the intensity of a workout, or changing workout surfaces. Overuse stress fractures occur when a weight-bearing movement is repeated so often that the bones and their supporting muscles do not have enough time to recover between workouts. If you believe you are experiencing pain from stress fractures of the foot, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a chiropodist.

A stress fracture often requires medical attention as it can progress and worsen over time. Please consult with Paul A. Scotti, D.Ch from West Toronto Foot & Ankle Clinic Inc. . Our chiropodist will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment. 

A stress fracture refers to a fine crack in a bone. This type of fracture is especially common in the feet, as they often endure repetitive pressure from daily activities such as walking or running. Stress fractures occur when the affected bone can not support the load being placed on it. Stress fractures in the foot can occur in any bone, but often affect the metatarsal bones which connect the toes to the rest of the foot, the heel bone, or the navicular bone on the top of the foot. 


Symptoms of a stress fracture may include: 

  • Deep, dull pain

  • Sharp, localized pain

  • Intermittent pain

  • Tenderness 

  • Weakness

  • Swelling

  • Bruising 

  • Changes in the biomechanics of the foot


Stress fractures in the foot are diagnosed via medical history and a physical exam. You may also need to have diagnostic imaging tests like X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, bone scans, or an ultrasound performed to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out any other problems.  


Nonsurgical treatment options include resting, icing, compressing and elevating the affected foot, taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications, modifying your footwear, wearing a cast, and using crutches. Certain types of foot fractures, such as navicular fractures, respond poorly to nonsurgical treatment and may need surgery to fully heal. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Stress Fractures

Connect With Us