Stress Fracture of Foot And Ankle

A stress fracture of the foot and ankle occurs when one or more tiny cracks form in a bone. The legs and feet support the body’s weight and absorb the forces of walking, running, and jumping. Most stress fractures are the result of overuse and repetitive activity in runners or athletes.


High-impact activities that stress the foot and ankle are the primary cause of stress fractures. Walking or running between multiple surface types (e.g soft to hard), ill-fitting shoes, and poor training habits can also lead to stress fractures. Those with bone insufficiencies such as osteoporosis or who are taking certain medications are more likely to experience a stress fracture.


Pain is the primary symptom of stress fractures of the foot and ankle. Pain often develops gradually and worsens with activity. Swelling on the top of the foot or outside of the ankle, tenderness, and bruising are also common.


Physicians will discuss symptoms and medical history to determine if a stress fracture has occurred. A physical examinations will look for tenderness and how the area responds to pressure. X-rays and MRIs may be used to identify stress fractures and the structure of the bones.


Most stress fractures of the foot and ankle can be treated with rest, anti-inflammatory medications, protective footwear, activity modification, and casts to immobilize the foot. In severe cases, surgery may be required to support the bones.

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