A stress fracture is a hairline fracture in a bone caused by overuse. In the foot, the Navicular stress fracture is the most common but they can occur in a number of bones in the foot and heel.
Navicular Stress Fracture
A Navicular stress fracture is one of the most common stress fractures affecting athletes, especially those in explosive events such as sprinting and jumping. It causes vague aching pain in the midfoot.
Symptoms of a navicular stress fracture include a poorly localized ache in the midfoot which gets worse with exercise. Pain may radiate along the inside arch of the foot and goes away quickly with rest, only to return again as training resumes. Tenderness may be felt when the thumb is pressed into the top of the foot over the navicular bone.
Calcaneal Stress Fracture
A calcaneal stress fracture is a hairline fracture calcaneus or heel bone. It is usually caused by overuse and is more common in soldiers who march long distances and runners. Here we explain the symptoms, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Symptoms of a calcaneal stress fracture may be similar to that of a bruised heel. Pain will come on gradually over time and will often be made worse with weight-bearing activity such as running and jumping. It may be difficult to differentiate between a bruised heel and a stress fracture.
Metatarsal Stress Fracture
A metatarsal stress fracture is a hairline fracture in one of the long metatarsal bones in the foot. They occur through overuse or poor foot biomechanics. The second metatarsal is the bone most commonly injured.
Pain in the forefoot which develops gradually over time.The pain will be usually be located towards the middle, or front of the foot. Symptoms are made worse with weight-bearing activities such as walking, running or dancing.Your foot will be tender to touch. There may be a specific tender spot on bone where the fracture is located. Swelling is often present.
Treatment of a stress fracture may depend on severity. If the injury is classed as a stress reaction where the outer part of the bone has not fractured then weight bearing rest in a walking splint may be recommended until symptoms have gone followed by a gradual return to full fitness. If a stress fracture is diagnosed then complete non-weight-bearing in a full cast for 6 weeks is essential
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