Stress Fractures

A man uses crutch because of his bone fracture


A stress fracture is a tiny crack in the bone. Stress fractures are generally caused by a repetitive application of force, such as long distance running or jumping. Pre-existing conditions, like osteoporosis, can cause stress fractures even when performing normal use.

The most common place for stress fractures to occur is in the weight bearing bones of the foot and lower leg. While athletes are the most susceptible to stress fractures, due to over stressing the body, anybody can get them. 


Often times, stress fractures are not noticeable at the beginning. If you start developing pain in your foot/feet, pay close attention to it. Proper preventative care can prevent it from getting worse.

Common symptoms of stress fractures include:
  • Pain that is increased by activity and decreased with rest
  • Pain that occurs at a progressively earlier time with each workout
  • Pain that is increased over time
  • Swelling
  • A specific area of the affected bone that feels painful or tender to the touch
The risk of stress fractures can be increased if you:
  • Play high-impact sports
  • Are female and experience absent or abnormal periods
  • Make a sudden change from being inactive to suddenly working out, playing sports, or engaging in other intense physical activity
  • Have high and rigid arches of flat feet
  • Have osteoporosis or any other condition that may weaken bones or decrease density


Stress fractures are difficult to diagnose right away and are not usually visible through x-rays until two or three weeks after symptoms start.

When x-rays do not work sometimes a magnetic resonance imaging and bone scan that can aid in the evaluation of your condition.

If any routine activity causes you pain that gets progressively worse and continues after the activity, then give us a call at Mid Nebraska Foot Clinic and we'll help find out if you have a stress fracture. 
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