Risk Factors for Foot Stress Fractures

Stress fractures, which are generally attributed to overuse, primarily affect weight-bearing bones and are often triggered by a sudden increase in physical activity. This serves as a significant risk factor for microscopic bone fractures in the feet. Embracing a new sport or intensifying exercise routines can elevate the likelihood of stress fractures. Biomechanical issues, such as abnormal gait patterns like flat feet or high arches and poor running form can also heighten the risk. Wearing inadequate footwear, including ill-fitting or worn-out shoes that offer insufficient support, places added stress on the foot bones. Nutritional deficiencies, particularly in calcium and vitamin D intake, weaken bones and make them more susceptible to such fractures. Hormonal changes, especially in women, like amenorrhea, can disrupt hormone balance and reduce bone density, which further increases the risk of stress fractures. Pain that starts during physical activity and worsens with continued exertion is a common symptom. Swelling in the affected area indicates inflammation, and tenderness of the bone to the slightest touch is another indicator. If these symptoms persist for about a week, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist for a full exam, which may include imaging tests, as a foot stress fracture may not be visible on an X-ray. 

Activities where too much pressure is put on the feet can cause stress fractures. To learn more, contact Craig Foster, DPM from Traction Podiatry Group. Our practitioner can provide the care you need to keep your pain free and on your feet.

Dealing with Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

Stress fractures occur in the foot and ankle when muscles in these areas weaken from too much or too little use.  The feet and ankles then lose support when walking or running from the impact of the ground. Since there is no protection, the bones receive the full impact of each step. Stress on the feet can cause cracks to form in the bones, thus creating stress fractures.

What Are Stress Fractures?

Stress fractures occur frequently in individuals whose daily activities cause great impact on the feet and ankles. Stress factors are most common among:

  • Runners                                  
  • People affected with Osteoporosis
  • Tennis or basketball players
  • Gymnasts
  • High impact workouts


Pain from the fractures occur in the area of the fractures and can be constant or intermittent. It will often cause sharp or dull pain with swelling and tenderness. Engaging in any kind of activity which involves high impact will aggravate pain.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Gilbert, AZ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.