Foot Stress Fracture
A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone. The most common areas for stress fractures are the metatarsals (particular 2 and 3) and thecalcaneus.
What Causes A Stress Fracture?
Stress fractures usually develop from overuse or repetitive trauma in impact sports such as running or basketball. Other patients with weakened bones (such as in osteoporosis) can also have stress fractures.
A stress fracture usually occurs when you increase: frequency, duration, or intensity of your high impact activity. The common term “too much too soon” applies here. If you are not properly conditioned, then doing too much can lead to fatigue and stress fracture.
This is why I always recommend that my running patients slowly transition from indoor treadmill running to outdoor running to avoid injury.
This leads straight into the importance of proper technique. Fatigue can alter the biomechanics of any movement resulting in injury or stress fracture. For example, plantar fasciitis often results in medial heel pain. Many runners will try to compensate by running on the outside of their foot. This can lead to excessively high foot pressures along the 5th metatarsal and a possible stress fracture.
Improper equipment, such as a worn out running shoe, can result in both abnormal foot pressures and improper technique. Women improperly transitioning into higher heeled shoes is another example.
A change in environment can also contribute to a stress fracture. An improper transition from indoor to outdoor running is again an example of environment increasing the risk of stress fracture.
Finally, bone insufficiency due to any number of causes (osteoporosis, metabolic issues, abnormal or absent menstrual periods). Weakened bone leads directly to stress fracture.