Stress fractures are small cracks that can occur in a bone because of overuse or activities that place high stress on the structures of the foot and ankle.
Most stress fractures occur when a person increases the amount of high-impact activity within a short period of time, placing undue stress on the feet and ankles. This stress can cause the muscles to become fatigued and lessen their ability to absorb shock from impacts. When this happens, the shock is transferred to the bones, which can create a fracture.
Common symptoms of a stress fracture are pain during activity that diminishes with rest, swelling on top of the foot or outside of the ankle, tenderness, redness, and bruising.
Treatment options include rest, taping of the foot and ankle, orthotic devices and crutches. In rare cases, surgery may be required.