Stress fracture

Stress Fracture

What Is A Stress Fracture?

Stress fractures, also called hairline fractures, are a tiny crack in a bone that will widen and worsen over time.  While they can certainly occur anywhere in the body, the most common stress fractures are found in the weight-bearing ankle and foot bones.

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.

Stress Fracture Causes

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 fractures can also result when a person over trains, suddenly starts a new training or workout program, or tries to do things for which their body isn’t properly conditioned. 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:

The Next Step…

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.

Preventing Stress Fractures

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.

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


Staff was extremely friendly and professional. They took us back immediately and no waiting for doctor to come in. Dr Settles-Carter was amazing with my little girl. She took her time and explained every detail to my daughter. As we were leaving my little girl said Dr Settles-Carter was the best doctor ever. Coming from a 10yr old.

Bert King

It took some work, and patience, but my feet are much better now. Dr. Freels worked with me to find exercises, and more importantly, the right shoe to wear. So nice not to dread going into work, for the pain of simply walking. Despite what another review here says, they've never tried to sell me any shoes there, have always left the choice up to me.

Robert Griffith

The staff was very courteous. However, the care provided by Dr. Carter and the staff in the back was exceptional! I finally had answers for my health concerns and issues and a course or plan of treatment including the costs of the services they provide. I especially liked the hours of operation...I can see a doctor for the treatment I need without having to use my personal and sick days! Love the flexibility. Lastly, the ambiance esthetics were relaxing and beautiful.

Bonnie Ogle Taylor

The entire staff at Lexington Podiatry was very welcoming and friendly. Jill went out of her way to make sure my daughter was taken care of. We appreciate being seen so quickly (it would have taken weeks to have seen an orthopedist for her foot injury). Now, she is on the road to recovery! Great office, thanks everyone!

Team Wade 24

Had a great experience! Everyone was very nice, it was clean, the doctor took time to listen to me. She showed me my x-rays and explained them to me. I would recommend them to family and friends.

Heather Purvis

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 plans at this time. Visit our New Patient page for more details.