Stress Fractures: Understanding The Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

February 20th, 2019 Becki Andrus

Stress Fractures – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

You don’t want it so you will not be happy if it develops. In fact, you may attempt to convince yourself that you don’t have it if the symptoms of this injury do occur. However, once this health issue has emerged, you will be forced to take it seriously and do what is necessary in order for it to subside.

Of course, the title of this article has already revealed the fact that we are discussing stress fractures. If you do encounter this unwelcome injury, it could develop in your foot, outer leg, heel, or hip. It can even cause a problem in your back, as spondylolysis is a stress fracture that usually presents an issue to children, teens, and active younger adults.

Causes For Stress Fractures

While an unwavering commitment to your workout regimen or sports activity is commendable, your habitual workout or activity can sometimes result in a repetitive motion that eventually leads to overuse. 

That can cause stress fractures, which are actually tiny cracks in the bone as the result of continual running, jumping and participation in certain sports. Any change in the intensity of your workout routine could also lead to a stress fracture since you are more likely to overdo your regimen. The problem can also develop if a change in your activity involves running or jumping on a harder surface because that increases the degree of impact that your body is forced to absorb.

If you haven’t been exercising regularly and suddenly decide to begin a regimen, then you are also at risk of doing too much too soon. Also, anyone who suffers from Osteoporosiswhich involves a reduction in density and strength in your bones – is more vulnerable to experience a stress fracture.

Finally, if you attempt to ignore your pain, you may also overcompensate by changing your technique. This can create a number of issues while providing yet another cause of stress fractures.

Symptoms Of Stress Fractures

If your level of pain is reduced when you are resting, then reemerges when you are engaged in your exercise or workout activities, then that is an indication that you might be contending with a stress fracture. This is also the case if you notice tenderness, bruising or swelling at the area of discomfort.

If the source of pain is located in your back, then any increase in discomfort when standing or arching your back could be a sign that you have a stress fracture.

Women are more susceptible to this injury, as is anyone with flat feet, or high arches. Also, previous instances of stress fractures will increase your chances of experiencing another injury.

When To See A Doctor

The pain from your stress fracture might not be serious when it initially appears. But it usually must be dealt with one way or another. If your discomfort increases over time or remains problematic even after you attempt to rest, then you should absolutely visit a doctor.

Any problem that you already have can become worse if you ignore the pain by refusing to alter your normal activities that have created the fracture in the first place. Any failure to avoid the repetitive motion that has caused your issue can intensify your injury, which can then develop into a chronic problem or even a more complete break.

It is also possible to develop arthritis if your problem is not treated in a timely fashion. This makes it essential that you seek the attention of a physician so that a plan will be developed for the area of your stress fracture to heal properly. This will also reduce your pain, and eventually eliminate it.

If you wisely allowed a minor stress fracture to heal but later resumed your previous activity too quickly, then any new pain should also result in a visit to your physician.

What A Doctor Will Do

If you are concerned that you may have a stress fracture, and decide to visit a doctor, he or she will ask you a series of questions. This will enable your physician to review your medical history and determine your degree of involvement in physical activities. X-Rays, MRIs, and bone scans might also be used to finalize a diagnosis. Forms of treatment can include rest, ice. Surgery is an infrequent but potential option depending upon the seriousness of your situation.

At Orthopedic Associates We Are Ready To Help

Fortunately, the specialists at Orthopedic Associates have the expertise and commitment to help whenever you or someone in your family is dealing with a stress fracture or any issues with your foot. Our collection of board-certified doctors provide vast knowledge that can only result from their combined 183 years of experience. This is beneficial in their ability to design effective treatment plans that will guide you back to a pain-free existence. The conditions that we can treat include:

  • Accessory Navicular
  • Adult Acquired Flatfoot
  • Bunion
  • Bunionette Deformity (Tailor’s Bunion)
  • Cavus Foot (High-Arched Foot)
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT)
  • Charcot’s Neuroarthropathy (CN)
  • Claw Toe
  • Clubfoot (Talipes Equinovarus)
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Corns
  • Diabetic Foot
  • Fracture of the Heel Bone (Calcaneus)
  • Gout
  • Hallux Rigidus (Stiff Big Toe)
  • Hammer Toe
  • Ingrown Toenails
  • Jones Fractures
  • LisFranc (Midfoot) Fracture-Dislocation
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • MTP Synovitis (Capsulitis)
  • Peroneal Tendon Tears
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Plantar Warts
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Foot
  • Sesamoiditis
  • Stress Fractures of the Foot
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (Posterior Tibial Neuralgia)


Our orthopedic experts are also highly experienced in performing multiple types of treatments and surgeries for the foot including:

  • Amniotic and Placental Graft Tissue for Surgery and Wound Care
  • Anesthesia
  • Bunion Correction with Scarf and Akin Osteotomy
  • Bunionectomy
  • Bunionette Deformity Correction
  • Calcaneal Fracture Fixation (Open Reduction and Internal Fixation)
  • Calcaneal Sliding Osteotomy (with Lateral Plate Fixation)
  • Calcaneal Tongue-Type Fracture Fixation (Open Reduction and Internal Fixation)
  • Cartilage Repair
  • Charcot Foot Treatment Options
  • Cheilectomy
  • Cold Laser Therapy
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
  • Cotton Osteotomy (Medial Cuneiform Opening Wedge Osteotomy)
  • DuVries Arthroplasty
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy (EPF)
  • Excision of Mortons Neuromas
  • First MTP Joint Fusion/Replacement
  • Fixation for LisFranc Injury
  • Hammertoe Correction (PIP Joint Arthroplasty)
  • Jones Fracture Fixation
  • Kidner Procedure
  • Lapidus Arthrodesis (with Medial Plate Fixation)
  • Lapidus Procedure for Bunion Correction
  • Lateral Column Lengthening (Evans Osteotomy) for Adult Acquired Flatfoot
  • LisFranc Ligament Repair (Suture Button Technique)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Mallet Toe Correction (DIP Joint Arthroplasty)
  • Medial Calcaneal Sliding Osteotomy
  • Metatarsal Fracture Fixation (Open Reduction and Internal Fixation)
  • Metatarsal Head Resurfacing with Collagen Interpositional Grafting
  • Midfoot Fusion
  • Minimal Incision Toe Bone Spur Removal
  • Multimodal Anesthesia and Pain Control
  • Nerve Conduction Study (NCS)
  • Partial Nail Removal (Matrixectomy)
  • Plantar Fascia Release (Open Technique)
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
  • Pulse Dye Laser Wart Removal
  • Radiofrequency Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
  • Intramedullary Memory Implant
  • Subtalar Implant/Fusion
  • Tarsal Tunnel Decompression
  • Tendon Transfer/Repair
  • Triple Arthrodesis
  • Weil Osteotomy for Claw Toe

Contact us today and begin your path to a pain-free life.

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