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Managing Foot Stress Fractures

Tuesday, 23 January 2024 00:00

Foot stress fractures are hairline breaks in bones that are caused by repeated stress rather than a specific injury. Though tiny and difficult to detect, stress fractures can be a painful and debilitating condition. They typically occur in the lower leg, particularly in the metatarsal bones of the midfoot. They result from repetitive weight-bearing activities that exceed the capacity of muscles and tendons to absorb stress. Symptoms include pain during these types of activities, gradually becoming worse. Metatarsal stress fractures, also known as march fractures, are common among runners who rapidly change workout intensity. They also affect poorly conditioned individuals carrying heavy loads, such as newly recruited soldiers. Diagnosing foot stress fractures involves X-rays or a bone scan, as standard X-rays may not reveal the fracture until several weeks after the injury. It may be necessary to stop weight-bearing activities for up to three months. This period allows the bone to heal and regain its strength. Risk factors include high foot arches, inadequate shock-absorbing shoes, and thinning bones. For help with metatarsal foot pain that can be caused by stress fractures, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist.

Activities where too much pressure is put on the feet can cause stress fractures. To learn more, contact Genine Befumo, DPM from University Foot and Ankle Center, L.L.C. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep your pain free and on your feet.

Dealing with Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

Stress fractures occur in the foot and ankle when muscles in these areas weaken from too much or too little use.  The feet and ankles then lose support when walking or running from the impact of the ground. Since there is no protection, the bones receive the full impact of each step. Stress on the feet can cause cracks to form in the bones, thus creating stress fractures.

What Are Stress Fractures?

Stress fractures occur frequently in individuals whose daily activities cause great impact on the feet and ankles. Stress factors are most common among:

  • Runners                                  
  • People affected with Osteoporosis
  • Tennis or basketball players
  • Gymnasts
  • High impact workouts


Pain from the fractures occur in the area of the fractures and can be constant or intermittent. It will often cause sharp or dull pain with swelling and tenderness. Engaging in any kind of activity which involves high impact will aggravate pain.

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

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