Stress Fracture of the Ankle & Foot – Symptoms & Treatment

Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone. Stress fractures often develop from overuse and high-impact sports like distance running or basketball. The weight-bearing bones of the foot and lower leg are especially vulnerable to stress fractures because of the repetitive forces they must absorb during activities


Stress fractures occur most often in the second and third metatarsals in the foot. This is the area of greatest impact on your foot as you push off when you walk or run.

Stress fractures are also common in the calcaneus (heel); fibula (the outer bone of the lower leg and ankle); talus (a small bone in the ankle joint); and the navicular (a bone on the top of the midfoot).

Many stress fractures are overuse injuries which occurs over time. The repetitive force that causes a stress fracture is not great enough to cause an acute fracture — such as a broken ankle caused by a fall. Overuse stress fractures occur when an athletic movement is repeated so often, weight-bearing bones and supporting muscles do not have enough time to heal between exercise sessions.

Even for the non athletes, a sudden increase in activity can cause a stress fracture. For example, if you walk infrequently on a day-to-day basis but end up walking excessively (or on uneven surfaces) while on a vacation, you might experience a stress fracture.


          • Pain that develops gradually during normal daily activities
          • Swelling on the top of the foot or the outside of the ankle
          • Tenderness to touch at the site of the fracture
          • Bruising

The goal of treatment is to relieve pain and allow the fracture to heal so that you are able to return to your activities. Treatment will vary depending on the location of the stress fracture and its severity. Majority of stress fractures are treated non surgically. Home remedies such as applying ice will help to keep the swelling down, avoid activities that will put weight on your foot and also to completely rest your foot by elevating on a pillow.

It is recommended to seek advice from Dr Siow who can provide appropriate treatments for you.

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