Ankle Stress Fracture

Sometimes when a patient twists or turns their ankle, a stress fractures might result.

Sometimes called hairline fractures, these small crack sometimes aren't visible on an X-ray for 10 - 14 days.

The more pressure and weight placed on the ankle, the worse the stress fracture can become.

Symptoms of Stress Fractures

Stress fracture symptoms include pain and swelling that worsen during activity and ease up when you’re at rest. Sometimes the area over the bone might feel tender to the touch.

An overuse injury, stress fractures are caused by the repetitive motions found in many sports, as well as the normal use of bones that have been weakened by arthritis.

We see them a lot in patients who run, do gymnastics, or play football, basketball and tennis – although they can be caused by just about any sport that involves placing addition and sudden stress on the foot or ankle.

Stress Fracture Risk Factors
  • Over trains
  • Suddenly starts a new training or workout program
  • Tries to do things for which their body isn't properly conditioned.
  • Women who have abnormal or non-existent menstrual cycles are also more likely to develop stress fractures.

For example, if you normally are a couch potato and suddenly start running 10 miles a day.

Beyond activities, certain factors can increase a person’s risk of stress fractures, such as flatfeethigh arches and osteoporosis.

Stress Fracture Treatments

We diagnose stress fractures through a physical examination and discussion of the history of your pain.

If we suspect a stress fracture, we will do an X-ray, bone scan or MRI to confirm the location and extent of the fracture, which will help us determine the right treatment plan.

Treatment options include stabilizing the fracture with a walking boot, brace or cast to allow healing, which might be coupled with crutches.

You will need to rest your foot, which means temporarily giving up whatever activity caused the fracture. These are usually coupled with pain relievers and ice applications.

The need for surgery is relatively rare, but it might be necessary in some types of stress fractures.

Stress Fracture Prevention Tips

There are a few things you can do to avoid stress fractures.

First, always wear proper shoes that will support and cushion your feet and ankles.

Start new workout regimens slowly and work your way up.

Cross training is also a wise approach, since it works a variety of muscle groups while allowing the others to rest.

Weird Stress Fracture in Art History

The Statue of David by Michelangelo is suffering from 'stress fractures.'

For hundreds of years, he was displayed outdoors in the city of Florence, Italy. Several years ago, the statue was moved indoors for display and underwent restoration to clean off the damage from the outside elements.

It was only then that the hairline cracks around the ankles (and the stump of the tree that helps to support the statue) were noticed. Sources close to the subject are nervous that one big earthquake could bring the statue to his knees.

And so it goes with live human stress fractures as well. The hairline fractures can go undetected until an outside event, whether it be a misplaced step, a fall, awkward jump landing or something similar, causes the pain to intensify.

If you are experiencing foot pain, call our office or make an online appointment


Accepted Insurance Providers

There may be providers, plans and coverage not included on this list. We will help you with navigating the options for coverage and costs. We also accept HSA, Flex accounts, Care Credit and prompt pay pricing for treatment at the clinic and surgical procedures. We do not accept Medicaid or CareSource plans at this time. Visit our New Patient page for more details.