Stress fractures are partial breaks or cracks in a bone. In the feet, stress fractures usually occur in the second, third or fourth metatarsals. It will hurt to touch the top of your foot; if it doesn't, you don't have a stress fracture. Swelling may occur but usually doesn't.Causes
Stress fractures result from chronic stress to the bone, usually from prolonged overtraining or switching from running on soft surfaces to running on hard surfaces.Treatment
If you suspect a stress fracture, see a sports-oriented physician for a bone scan. Don't run at all for six weeks. That's how long it takes for the bone to heal completely. If you try to run on it sooner, you'll only prolong the healing period. The good news is that stress fractures usually heal without any complications.Prevention
Stress fractures of the foot are almost always caused by overuse. If you notice a dull ache or foot stiffness or soreness, cut back on the intensity or amount of your running, or find softer surfaces to run on. Clearly, if you have had a stress fracture, you will need to alter your training to prevent a recurrence. Also, consider changing your running shoe to one with better shock absorption. And run at least a few days a week on soft surfaces such as grass or dirt trails, rather than roads or sidewalks.Can you run with it?
You should not run with a stress fracture.
Run The Planet thanks Running The World for the permission to reprint the article “Fourteen common foot ailments and their cures”. Text copyright © 2001 by Running The World.