Stress fractures are a relatively common cause of foot and ankle pain. These injuries result not from one specific injury, like an acute fracture, but chronic overuse. Historically, we have seen them in new athletes training for a new sport or event or, by the textbook, military recruits being put through the paces. Theoretically, any bone can develop a stress fracture, though there are a few that are more likely to suffer from repetitive stress over time.
Most commonly, we see stress fractures requiring treatment along the outside of the foot, in the fifth metatarsal. These injuries are slow to heal and are very nagging if left untreated. Of the remaining metatarsals, the bones that make up the majority of the foot, the second metatarsal is the next most common site, as it represents a high point of stress with some very common foot types. The calcaneus, or heel bone, and either of the long bones making up the ankle joint, the tibia and fibula, can commonly have stress fractures as well. Interestingly, heel pain is one of the most common things we see and treat at Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle and one of the biggest concerns we must rule out is a stress fracture of the calcaneus. Because of this, even if we suspect the underlying cause is soft tissue related, x-rays can rule out this more serious injury.
Even we can suffer from stress fractures. One of our physicians recently spent months recovering in a boot and stiff shoes after developing a sesamoid stress fracture in the forefoot. No surgery is required for most of these injuries most of the time, but often they need immobilization, relative rest, and time to recover. If you have pain that you have let build up over time, do not hesitate to call Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle in either Avon or Frisco to evaluate you for a stress fracture.