Metatarsal stress fractures involve a hairline break in the bone due to repetitive stress. It is important to note that stress fractures develop due to overuse.
What are the possible causes?
Metatarsal stress fractures essentially occur due to continuous stress to the bone. The 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bones are usually affected since these endure significant stress during movement.
- Abnormalities or irregularities in the foot structure or in the bones and joints increases the risk for metatarsal stress fractures.
- The fractures can also occur among those who have poor or lost nerve sensation in the feet due to neurological issues such as diabetes that affects the feet.
- Certain choices and needs for running shoes. Gradual breaking in of new shoes is required since several injuries occur from abrupt changes in the running shoes used.
Indications of metatarsal stress fractures
- Initially, there is foot pain during activity that is alleviated by rest.
- After some time, pain could not be relieved by rest and becomes continuous.
- Widespread and diffused pain in the foot
- Tenderness in the area along the 2nd or 3rd metatarsal bone
- Swelling without bruising
- An important aspect of managing metatarsal stress fractures is to avoid any activity responsible for the fracture.
- Elevate the affected foot can provide relief to the pain.
- Special shoes can be used to immobilize the fracture and provide support to the foot to allow the individual to walk.
- In case the pain is intense, the doctor might recommend a plaster cast covering the area below the knee until the fracture has recuperated.
Surgical intervention for metatarsal stress fractures is not usually required. It is important to note that stress fractures generally heal without any snags and the individual can resume his/her activities.
The individual can resume activity if pain is not triggered, usually within 6-12 weeks. When exercise is resumed, it should be done gradually.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on metatarsal stress fractures is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage fractures, register for a first aid and CPR course with Mississauga First Aid.