Stress fracture of Metatarsal

What are the metatarsals?

There are 5 long, skinny bones in the foot called the metatarsals that connect the tarsal bones to the toes. 

What is a stress fracture?

A stress fracture is a small crack in the bone caused by overuse and repetitive activity. This occurs most commonly in runners and athletes.  

What are the risk factors factors?

Sudden increase in activity, low bone density (osteoporosis), biological factors such as a long, plantar flexed metatarsal or specific foot types such as cavus foot type. 

What are the symptoms of a stress fracture? 

Dull/sharp pain, swelling, redness, and localized tenderness to palpation in the area of the stress fracture

How to diagnose and treat a stress fracture?

X-rays often don’t show early stress fractures and take at least 2-3 weeks after injury to show up on X-ray . An MRI is often used to diagnose a stress fracture. A stress fracture is treated with a decrease in physical activity and the foot is immobilized with a long walking boot or cast. Surgery is rarely needed to treat a stress fracture.