Stress fractures are a form of overuse injury, meaning they occur when the foot and ankle are pushed beyond their limits by repetitive activites.
Bones that are commonly affected by stress fractures in the foot include:
- Calcaneus (heel bone)
- Metatarsal (see fifth metatarsal fractures)
- Sesamoids - tiny disc-shaped bones that sit under the ball of your foot.
Stress fractures are often seen in athletes, especially runners, but may be seen in anyone who suddenly increases their level of activity. They also tend to be more common in people with osteoporosis, or weak bones.
Minor stress fractures will heal very well if the foot is rested. More serious stress fractures may require crutches and a period of non-weight-bearing or reduced activities.
The best advice for stress fractures is to avoid them through well planned training and supportive (even prescription) footwear.