Stress Frature

A stress fracture is a type of overuse injury that occurs in bones, typically in weight-bearing bones like the legs and feet. It is characterized by a small crack or break in the bone, often caused by repetitive stress and strain on the bone without sufficient time for it to heal and repair itself. Stress fractures are common in athletes and individuals who engage in repetitive, high-impact activities, such as running, jumping, or dancing.

It is most commonly seen in athletes and military recruits. About nearly 50% of athletes the shin bone was involved, followed by fractures in the foot.


Stress fractures typically result from repetitive and excessive mechanical stress on a bone. Factors that contribute to stress fractures include sudden increases in activity, improper footwear, poor technique, and bone density issues.

Common Locations

Stress fractures most commonly occur in the weight-bearing bones of the lower extremities, including the shin (tibia), the metatarsal bones of the foot, and the heel (calcaneus). They can also occur in the hip, pelvis, and even the spine.


The most common symptoms of a stress fracture include localized pain, tenderness, and swelling at the site of the fracture. The pain often worsens with activity and improves with rest. Stress fractures can be challenging to distinguish from other injuries, such as muscle strains, so a proper diagnosis is essential.


We often use imaging techniques like X-rays, MRI, or bone scans to diagnose a stress fracture. In some cases, initial X-rays may not reveal the fracture, and an MRI may be necessary.


The primary treatment for stress fractures is rest and reducing the stress on the affected bone. This typically involves avoiding the activity that caused the fracture for a period of 6-8 weeks or longer. Immobilization with a cast or walking boot may be necessary in some cases. Physical therapy can help with recovery and preventing future fractures. Proper nutrition, including adequate calcium and vitamin D intake, can also play a role in bone health.


To prevent stress fractures, it's important to gradually increase the intensity and duration of physical activities, wear appropriate footwear, and maintain a balanced diet with sufficient nutrients for bone health. Ensuring proper biomechanics and form during exercise can also reduce the risk.

Returning to Activity

After a stress fracture, it's crucial to follow a gradual return-to-activity plan to avoid re-injury. This typically involves a progression of weight-bearing activities, guided by our team members.

If you suspect you have a stress fracture or are experiencing symptoms of one, it's essential to get an opinion from us for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment to promote proper healing and reduce the risk of complications.

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