Activity followed by pain that improves with rest but worsens with activity. This is the injury cycle of a stress fracture. Caused by overload or overuse, stress fracture is common among athletes and sports enthusiasts—read on to find out why.

Causes & Triggers

  • Changes in playing surface
  • Improper shoes or equipment
  • Overuse or overload of stress on the foot
  • Rapid increase in activity or intensity
  • Repetitive stress, especially from sports activities like tennis, running, gymnastics

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Pain that subsides with rest

Tips & Treatments

  • More than half of all stress fractures occur in the lower leg and foot.
  • Women are more prone to stress fractures than men.
  • Treatment requires rest from the offending activity and very gradual resumption but only when pain-free.
  • Orthotics or shoe inserts and/or braces may help in healing.
  • Eat well and exercise sensibly, including eating a calcium-rich diet and cross-training with a variety of activities and exercise options.
  • Support feet with proper, well-fitting shoes.