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Signs You Have a Stress Fracture in Your Foot

Signs You Have a Stress Fracture in Your Foot

Repeated movements that place pressure on your foot can lead to tiny cracks in one of 26 bones in your foot. Called stress fractures, these cracks can lead to long-term dysfunction if not treated properly. Without proper care, you also put yourself at risk of developing more stress fractures. 

The symptoms of stress fractures and injuries of the tendons, ligaments, or other tissue in the foot can sometimes look or feel the same. That’s why you should consult our orthopedic team here at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists to get a definitive diagnosis and proper treatment.

Signs you may have a foot stress fracture

Here are signs the orthopedists at our office say usually indicate a stress fracture. You may have just a few of these symptoms.

Pinpoint pain

You feel specific pain at the site of a bone. The pain is especially noticeable when you push on or touch that specific area. 

Sharp pain when weight-bearing

When you stand or put weight on the foot, you may feel sharp pain at the site of the fracture. This pain is particularly noticeable if your injury has progressed. 


The area where you suspect a fracture feels weak. You may not be able to perform as you normally do when running, dancing, or jumping.

Deep, intermittent pain

The pain feels like it’s inside your foot or your toes. It’s dull and intermittent, intensifying during weight-bearing activity but easing when you rest. 


If you have an injury to a metatarsal (bones that attach the toes to the foot), you may feel swelling at the top portion of your foot. But swelling due to a stress fracture can appear anywhere on the foot. 

Changes in the way you move

You may notice the pain in the specific area of your foot causes you to run or walk in a distorted manner. Many people develop compensatory pain in other places as a result.


The area around the point of pain may appear bruised, or reddish or purplish. This happens because your body rushes blood in to help heal the injury. 

How are stress fractures treated?

We recommend you stop all high-impact activities until your stress fracture heals. If you start the wrong activity again too quickly, it delays recovery and puts you at greater risk for a complete fracture. 

Along with rest, icing, compression or immobilization in a walking boot, and elevation help your foot’s stress fracture recover. You can manage pain using over-the-counter NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen. 

You check in periodically with our office so we can track the progression of your stress fracture’s healing. Follow our rest recommendations until you’re cleared for higher impact activities, or you risk a longer time away from the activities your love. 

If you’re concerned that you may have suffered a stress fracture in your foot or ankle, contact our experienced team at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists.

We provide evaluation and treatment of all types of fractures. Call our Bethesda or Germantown, Maryland, office at 301-515-0900 or set up an appointment here to get a comprehensive evaluation.

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