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A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone usually caused by repetitive stress. Metatarsal stress fracture refers to a fracture in one of the five long bones in the foot leading to the toe bones. This type of injury occurs more commonly in the second or third metatarsal.


Pain occurs and intensifies during normal activity

Pain goes away with rest

Tender to touch at the site of fracture

Swelling on top of the foot


Repetitive stress to bone

Sudden increase in physical activity

Change in training or playing surface

Wearing worn-out or flimsy shoes

Alteration in foot mechanics

Abnormal foot structure

Conditions that cause bone insufficiency, such as osteoporosis


It is important to see your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect a stress fracture. Delayed or improper treatment can result in loss of function and more fractures. Early treatment is aimed at relieving pain and allowing healing. Surgery may be required depending on severity of fracture.

RICE protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation

Avoid activities involving repetitive stress while healing

Over the counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), as needed

Supportive shoe, with thick sole

Immobilization with post-surgical shoe, cast boot, or CAM walker

Use of crutches to eliminate weight-bearing

Physical therapy may be prescribed

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Metatarsal Stress Fracture Discussion Board

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