by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
A stress fracture is a tiny crack in the bone. They are most common in the lower leg and foot.
This fracture is caused by repeated stress or overuse from:
Stress fractures are more common in women. Things that may raise the risk of this fracture are:
Symptoms may be:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. They will also ask about regular activities. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may suspect a stress fracture based on symptoms. Images may be taken if pain is severe or fracture is not healing as expected. Tests may be:
It can take 6 to 8 weeks for a stress fracture to heal. The goals of treatment are to manage pain and support the bone as it heals. Options may be:
To lower the chance of a stress fracture:
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Femoral stress fracture. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/femoral-stress-fracture. Accessed September 30, 2020.
Stress fractures. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed September 30, 2020.
Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/stress-fractures-of-the-foot-and-ankle. Accessed September 30, 2020.
Tibial plateau fracture. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/tibial-plateau-fracture. Accessed September 30, 2020.
Welck MJ, Hayes T, et al. Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. Injury 2017 Aug;48(8):1722.
Last reviewed January 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated: 9/8/2020
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.