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What are the symptoms of a foot stress fracture?

Updated February 21, 2019

Stress fractures are small cracks or breaks in a bone. They can occur in any of the bones of the foot. Stress fractures are common in the legs and feet and often occur as a result of overuse. Performing the same activity over and over, or suddenly increasing training intensity can place excessive stress on the bones. Recognising the symptoms of a stress fracture can help you to treat the injury as soon as possible to avoid more serious complications.

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Intermittent Pain

A stress fracture usually starts as an achy pain. The discomfort subsides when you stop and rest.


If the fracture remains untreated, the pain gets progressively worse. You may start to feel the pain any time you walk or run.

Swelling and Sensitivity

Other symptoms that may signal a stress fracture in the foot include swelling on the top of the foot. You may also find that your foot is sensitive to touch.

Constant Pain

Stress fractures that are not allowed to heal eventually cause constant pain. You may eventually experience pain that occurs throughout the day during all activities.


If a stress fracture becomes worse, you may no longer be able to bear weight on your foot. The entire foot and ankle area can become swollen and bruised.

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About the Author

I hold a Master's degree in exercise physiology/health promotion. I am a certified fitness specialist through the American College of Spots Medicine and an IYT certified yoga teacher. I have over 25 years experience teaching classes to both general public and those with chronic illness. The above allows me to write directly to the reader based on personal experiences.

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