Who is at risk from a metatarsal stress fracture?
Regular, repetitive motions in the foot are the most common causes of metatarsal stress fractures, making runners particularly susceptible. If you have recently taken up running or are trying to run too far too soon, you are at an even greater risk of developing a stress fracture.
Other sports, such as basketball, tennis, gymnastics and dance, that put a great deal of repeated pressure on the foot are also common causes. Whatever sport you are taking part in, you should always ensure you have the correct footwear and that it fits properly – as poor footwear increases the chances you will over-stress your metatarsals.
Stress fractures can also occur as a result of a different injury entirely! For example, if you sustain damage to an ankle, knee or hip and don’t seek treatment, you may end up overloading your foot on that side to compensate for the pain elsewhere.
Osteoporosis, vitamin D deficiency and certain foot problems can also lead to metatarsal stress fractures.
What are the symptoms of a metatarsal stress fracture?
If you do develop a stress fracture in your metatarsal you will likely experience pain in your foot that will be worse during activity but will lessen when you rest.
You might also notice swelling at the top of your foot, and it may be tender to touch. There could also be some bruising or redness around the area. Some people will have balance problems or an uneven gait.
What are the treatment options?
If left untreated, stress fractures can develop into a complete break or lead to chronic conditions.
If you suspect you have a metatarsal stress fracture, you must rest your foot. You can apply ice to ease the pain and elevate your foot to reduce swelling. Avoid tight or heeled shoes. Then make an appointment with us here at Back in Business Physiotherapy
We will look at any immediate interventions that will help the healing process, such as wearing a moon boot for a short period to de-load and allow the bone to repair itself. Then we might suggest footwear modifications or advise on your exercise routine changes to prevent the issue worsening or recurring.
If the stress fracture was caused by a previous injury, this will need to be addressed as well.
If you’re experiencing pain in your foot, or any unexplained pains following a change in your exercise routine, give us a call on 02 9922 6806 or email us so we can check out what’s going on.
See link to a clinical example
1. OrthoInfo (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons). 2015. Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle. [Onlinehttps://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/stress-fractures-of-the-foot-and-ankle/
2. Physio.co.uk. 2021. Stress Fracture of the Metatarsal. [Onlinehttps://www.physio.co.uk/what-we-treat/musculoskeletal/conditions/foot/stress-fracture-of-the-metatarsal.php
Uploaded : 23 April 2021 ; Updated : 29 June 2021