Stress Fractures

Stress Fractures

By David Ehrlich, DPM, FACFAS

Foot Stress Fracture

When most patients think of a fracture or broken bone, they associate the injury with a traumatic event. However, stress fractures have a more insidious onset and are not preceded by trauma.

Stress Fractures

What Are Stress Fractures

stress fracture is a common foot and ankle injury in which a bone develops a subtle break from repetitive overloading.

A classic example is a “weekend warrior” who goes for a jog, plays with their kids, then plays pick-up basketball all in one day after being relatively inactive during the week.

Where Stress Fractures Occur

A stress fracture can occur in several of the bones of the foot, but the injury is most common in the metatarsals. Patients who suffer from this injury will experience a dull ache around the fracture site as well as localized swelling.

Because these injuries are so subtle, they often do not appear on initial x-rays. Usually, a thorough history and exam can lead to an accurate diagnosis of a stress fracture, but advanced imaging, such as an MRI may be performed to help with diagnosing these subtle injuries.

How to Treat a Foot Stress Fracture

Stress fractures are treated with rest, icing, and, most importantly immobilization with a fracture boot. Rarely do these injuries require the patient to stay off of the foot completely. However, stress fractures may lead to prolonged pain and swelling without early detection and treatment.

Some patients are more prone to recurrent stress fractures based on their gait pattern or foot type. For example, patients with high arches place more stress on the ball of the foot and are more prone to metatarsal stress fractures. Therefore, a custom-molded orthotic device may be critical in preventing a recurrent stress fractures in many patients.

These orthotic devices will offload any area of high pressure that can cause a stress fracture to develop.

Advanced Foot Care Can Help

The doctors of Advanced Foot Care are experts in fracture care and have years of experience in treating stress fractures. We will help you to get back to full activity after any athletic injury and work to ensure that re-injury does not occur.

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