Stress Fractures of the Foot – A Cause of Swelling and Pain

Broken Toe

Stress fractures are an inflammatory reaction in the bone’s of the foot in response to movement or pressure (stress). In the foot this movement or pressure is usually from repetitive activities such as running or walking that cause significant amounts impact from the ground. Stress fractures are usually very painful and most patients come into TFC Podiatry limping and trying to avoid putting pressure on the painful foot. Stress fractures often cause swelling and redness in the foot as the body sends blood and fluid to the area in response to inflammation.

People will often get stress fractures when staring a new activity or increasing there current activity levels too quickly. Other risk factors for the development of stress fractures can include foot posture e.g high arch or low arch foot type, and your medical history.

Commonly we see stress fractures between the arch and the toes. In this area of the foot, the bones are longer and thinner which often increases the chance of a stress fracture. Once a stress fracture has occured rest is required. Resting a stress fracture for the best outcomes should be as near as possible to complete rest. As the foot is generally so difficult to rest, we generally recommend a CAM (moon) boot to get rid of as much movement and pressure as possible.

Stress fractures should always be assessed by a medical professional to ensure correct diagnosis and management. Stress fractures sometimes require x-rays or other tests to help diagnose.