A stress fracture is an overuse injury. This type of fracture is defined by a tiny crack in the bone, mainly caused by repetitive forces over time.
This condition affects mainly people that are involved in activities such as walking, running or jumping, where the lower body must absorb the bodyweight. Stress fractures can also develop from the normal use of a bone that’s weakened by a condition such as osteoporosis.
Generally, this injury happens when training intensity and/or volume is increased too quickly with inadequate recovery. Starting a new activity, modifying the training surface and quickly transitioning to a new type of inadequate training shoes are among the risk factors.A stress fracture is most commonly seen in the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. Metatarsals, which are five long bones between the center of the foot and the toes, are the most affected. Stress fractures are also common in the calcaneus, the talus, the navicular, the tibia and the fibula. The stress fracture generally occurs at the base or center of the bone.
Everyone will react differently after an injury and recovery will depend on the severity. A stress fracture can cause but is not limited to, pain and difficulty in weight-bearing activities and localized swelling.
Your rehabilitation plan, your health status, your fitness level and your nutrition affect recovery time. Generally, you can expect to fully recover from a stress fracture. Typically, this type of fracture heals within four to eight weeks.