A stress fracture is a small crack in the bone due to stress or repetitive force usually caused by overusing of the bone. It causes discomfort especially the weight-bearing bones in the foot and lower leg is susceptible to this condition. It is due to the repetitive forces absorbed during running, walking and jumping.
Stress fracture usually happens in the 2nd and 3rd metatarsals of the foot which are longer than the next 1st metatarsal. It receives the greatest force on the foot when pushing off when running or walking.
Causes of a foot stress fracture
- Sudden increase in performing exercises and running longer distances.
- Repeated stress
- Direct blow to the area
- Tenderness when touched
- Swelling of the foot or ankle
- Stop performing exercises if there is pain in the area. Take plenty of rest.
- Wear shoes such as sandal with thick cork sole that properly supports the area and lessen weight placed on the foot when moving around.
- Apply ice pack on the affected foot for at least 20 minutes at a time with 20 minutes break in between to lessen the pain and the swelling. Wrap ice pack in a towel before placing to the area to prevent further irritations and worsen the condition. Another alternative if ice is not available, bag of frozen vegetables such as corn or peas can also be used.
- Compress the area using an elastic bandage wrapped around the affected foot to increase flow of blood in the area, lessen the swelling and the pain. Avoid wrapping it too tight to prevent problems with circulations. Loosen the wrap if the area becomes blue or violet.
- Elevate the area above the level of heart. Lay down on a couch and the foot raised up on the armrest or lying in bed and raise the foot in couple of pillows to keep it elevated.
- Prescribed crutches to support the area and lessen the stress on the fractured bone while in the healing process.
- Avoid sudden increase in the intensity of workout.
- Proper warm up and stretching before performing exercises.
- Stop immediately if experiencing pain during exercises
- Prescribed calcium and vitamin D supplements for stronger bones.
- Avoid changing surfaces when running such as running on a treadmill and then switching to asphalt to prevent stress fractures and shin splints.
Disclaimer / More Information
The material posted on this page on foot stress fracture is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs and how it is managed by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.