Stress Fracture

Foot pain due to a stress fracture does not have to be extremely severe, in fact if it is pain that just starts out of nowhere and becomes very painful one morning – it is likely not a stress fracture. A stress fracture develops over time and it is due to healthy bone trying to remodel itself over time, leading to weakening. Foot Pain due to a stress fracture is during overuse and is more of an aching pain that may be very low when you are not running or moving on your foot. If you injure yourself and there is pain afterwards this is more of a traumatic fracture or more of a soft tissue injury.


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Causes of Stress Fracture 

  • Overuse of your foot.
  • Not due to a very forceful injury.

Diagnosis of Stress Fracture

  • Gradual increase in pain.
  • Not Severe Pain.
  • Usually the base of the 2nd toe, or the outside of the foot.


What will happen if you don’t get treatment:

  • The pain will build up gradually over a few days.
  • There is a high risk of developing a complete break if you do not offload the foot.
  • If the bone heals in poor position you will have a permanent deformity.
  • If it is near a joint you will 100% develop osteoarthritis.


if the pain is severe and intense one morning after not feeling anything the day before- then you probably have a break due to traumatic injury or a soft tissue problem like a muscle strain.

They are extremely difficult to see on X-ray for the first 3 weeks because it is such a small crack that is compressed against the other end perfectly.

Home Treatment

-The goal of treatment will be to rest your foot to prevent the fracture from getting worse. If you have any suspicion of it being a stress fracture, you should rest to see if the pain starts to go away ad test it a few days later. While waiting for the pain to go away over the next few days to weeks  you can do the following to increase your healing time.

  • Taping: Low Dye Taping is a taping technique that can recreate the foot arch and can be attempted to maintain supination rather than pronation.
  • Splinting: An offloading pad can be made for your forefoot that has a second toe cutout that is amazing for relieving pain.
  • Ice: This is not just about pain! It will decrease the inflammation and the time needed to heal the forefoot. Put ice in a bag (wrapped with cloth) and apply it for 15-20 minutes until the area starts to become numb. This decreases the effect of inflammatory cells and at the same time boosts the rebound blood flow to the area after the ice is removed.
  • Elevation: Recline in a chair and elevate our foot while watching tv. Like the Ice principle, it flushes the inflammatory cells out of the area and is very important immediately after running or standing for a long time.
  • Pain medication: Ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories. The goal is to continue it regularly for 1-2 weeks not for pain but to raise anti-inflammation enzyme levels in your blood so that the area has a chance to heal. This is not just for pain!
  • Tight Calf Muscles – Stretching your calves is essential and the cheapest possible cure. This may be the single most important component of reducing pain due to over pronation!
  • Use a Brannock device to properly measure your shoe size: It is essential to measure the foot length, the arch length and the foot width. It is possible that you have longer toes or longer metatarsals that require a wider Toe box than you think you need.
  • Combine icing, elevation, non-weight bearing and pain medication gives you the best chance at healing as quickly as possible.