Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are a type of overuse injury. These fractures, which may be partian or incomplete, result from repetitive subthreshold loading that, over time, exceeds the bone's intrinsic ability to repair itself. The repetitive forces of running or jumping, and even benign activities such as walking, can cause these injuries. Stress fractures can occur in any bone, but most often afflict the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot.


  • Localized bone pain
  • Pain exacerbated with weight bearing
  • With or without localized edema

Stress fractures are notoriously underdiagnosed and under treated. This injury carries the risk of complete fracture, displacement, and avascular necrosis, and may result in chronic disability. R.I.C.E. (Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.) is always a good first step.

  • Fracture-healing boot or cast for 4-6 weeks
  • Running and jumping should be avoided for an additional two weeks
  • Orthotics: Reinjury is common, especially among athletes. When returning to activities the use of orthotics and proper footwear will help prevent future occurences.

More information
You can also download our Podiatry-at-a-Glance newsletters: A Guide to Stress Fractures.