Do I Have A Stress Injury In My Foot?

If you are involved in high impact activity (jumping, sprinting) or long distance running, then you are at risk for developing a stress injury in your foot. This post will give you all the symptoms you need to be aware of to rule out a stress fracture as well as the way to manage one if present

Most Common Symptoms For a Stress Injury

  • Pain or swelling at the site of pain
  • Feels like a “hot spot”
  • Tenderness at the site of pain
  • Foot pain that occurs during activity that doesn’t go away after
  • Foot pain at rest
  • Foot pain that feels worse at night (link)

    How Is A Stress Injury Diagnosed?

    • If you have any of the above, you should follow up with your doctor for imaging
    • The doctor will likely order an x-ray
    • An x-ray does not show a stress fracture right away typically
    • As a result, the doctor will either wait two weeks or order a CT scan
    • Waiting 2 weeks allows the bone to heal so the healing callus is seen on x-ray
    • A CT will be able to spot the stress fracture right away
    X-ray of a 2nd metatarsal stress injury

    How To Manage A Stress Fracture In Your Foot

    1. Stop the activity you are doing and limit the force going through the foot
    2. Do what you can to protect from further injury (avoid dangerous activity, wear a walking boot)
    3. Avoid anti-inflammatory medications (Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Aspirin). These actually slow down bone healing via a very complex pathway I don’t have time to divulge here
    4. Do not ice the injury. Ice delays healing.

    If you still have foot pain, then read this post on the steps you can take to assess if an x-ray is needed (link)