Stress Fracture

Stress fractures are a small crack or severe bruising in the bone that occurs most often with repetitive activity.

These injuries are especially common in runners and athletes and most commonly occur in the feet but also can occur in the ankle, shin and other bones.

Stress fractures can occur when an athlete changes the surface of their workouts or suddenly increases in intensity. Conditions that decrease the strength and density of the bone, such as osteoporosis can make one more susceptible to these injuries occurring in everyday life.

If you have pain in the ankle that develops gradually and worsens with weight-bearing activity it is recommended to see a doctor as stress fractures can turn into complete breaks if left untreated. Orthopedic Walk-In Injury Centers are great places to see an orthopedic specialist and take the first step to diagnose and create a treatment plan.  


Most people with stress fractures experience pain in that area, but when and how severe the pain varies from person to person. Other common and related symptoms include:

  • Pain that diminishes during rest
  • Pain that occurs during normal daily activities
  • Swelling near site of pain
  • Tenderness to touch at site of the fracture
  • Bruising


Treatment for stress fractures has the goal of alleviating pain and allowing someone to return to activities. The key to treatment is rest from the activity that caused the fracture. Braces or casts may be used to keep the load off of the affected area. Physical therapy and/or orthotics may also help one heal and prevent reinjury.  In some cases, surgery is needed to support the bones’ ability to heal by placing fasteners such as pins or screws to hold the bones together. 


There are a variety of ways to help prevent this type of injury. Doctors encourage patients to eat diets high in calcium and vitamin D to build strong bones. Using proper footwear and cross-training can help remove a load from your bones. Adding strength training to a workout regimen will also help build up muscle so it will not tire out as easily. Gradually increasing in workout intensity and taking rest when needed can also help prevent stress fractures.