A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone. Stress fractures often develop from overuse, such as from high-impact sports like distance running or basketball.

Most stress fractures occur in the weight-bearing bones of the foot and lower leg. Studies show that athletes participating in tennis, track and field, gymnastics, dance, and basketball are at high risk for stress fractures. In all of these sports, the repeated stress of the foot striking the ground can cause problems.

These guidelines can help you prevent stress fractures.

  • Maintain a healthful diet. Eat calcium and Vitamin D-rich foods to help build bone strength.
  • Use proper sports equipment. Don’t wear old or worn running shoes.
  • Alternate your activities. For example, you can alternate jogging with swimming or cycling.
  • Start any new sports activity slowly. Gradually increase time, speed, and distance; a 10% increase per week is fine.
  • Strength training can help prevent early muscle fatigue and prevent the loss of bone density that comes with aging.
  • If pain or swelling returns, stop the activity. Rest for a few days. If pain continues, see your Podiatrist