Stress fractures of the feet

Stress fractures of the feet

A stress fracture is a small crack or break in a bone that is caused by repetitive stress or overuse, rather than a sudden injury.

These types of fractures are particularly common in the foot and ankle, where the bones are subjected to a lot of weight-bearing activity and pressure.

As podiatrists, we are trained to diagnose and treat stress fractures in the foot and ankle. We’ll typically start by conducting a thorough physical exam of the affected area, which may involve manipulating the foot and ankle to assess range of motion and identify areas of tenderness or pain.

We may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to get a better look at the affected area and determine the extent of the injury. Treatment for stress fractures can vary depending on the severity of the fracture, but may include rest, immobilization (such as with a cast or boot), physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery.

As podiatrists, we can work with patients to develop a personalized treatment plan that takes into account their individual needs, goals, and lifestyle. Our goal is always to help our patients recover from their injury as quickly and safely as possible, so they can get back to their normal activities. We may also work with our patients to identify and address any underlying biomechanical issues that may have contributed to the development of the stress fracture, such as overpronation (excessive inward rolling of the foot) or poor footwear choices.

In addition to treating stress fractures, we can also provide advice and guidance on how to prevent future injuries. This may include recommending appropriate footwear, stretching and strengthening exercises, and modifying activity levels to reduce the risk of overuse injuries.


  • Rest: The first step in treating a stress fracture is to rest the affected area. The patient may need to take a break from the activity that caused the stress fracture or use crutches to avoid weight-bearing on the affected foot.
  • Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. The patient should apply ice for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
  • Compression: Using compression bandages or sleeves can help reduce swelling and provide support to the affected area.
  • Elevation: Elevating the affected foot above the level of the heart can help reduce swelling and promote healing.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Orthotics: Custom orthotic devices can help redistribute pressure on the foot and provide support to the affected area, helping to promote healing.
  • Physical therapy: A podiatrist may recommend physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected area and improve overall foot mechanics.