Stress fractures

Stress fractures are tiny cracks in a bone. Stress fractures are caused by the repetitive application of force, often by overuse — such as repeatedly jumping up and down or running long distances. Stress fractures can also arise from normal use of a bone that's been weakened by a condition such as osteoporosis.

Stress fractures are most common in the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. Track and field athletes are particularly susceptible to stress fractures, but anyone can experience a stress fracture. If you're starting a new exercise program, for example, you may be at risk if you do too much too soon.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

At first, the pain associated with a stress fracture may be barely noticeable, but it tends to worsen with time. The tenderness usually originates from a specific spot and decreases during rest. You also might experience some swelling around the painful area.

When to see a doctor

Contact your doctor if your pain becomes severe or persists even at rest.

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