The idea that you can actually overuse your bones sounds odd. Did you know that placing your bones under continued stress and use could cause them to fail? A stress fracture is a hairline fracture caused by overuse. People that are active and spend their days on their feet are at an increased risk for these fractures.

In the foot, muscles can become fatigued from being overworked. Fatigue reduces the muscle’s ability to serve as shock absorbers and increases the force felt by the bones. This increased stress can eventually cause the bones to break or fracture. Symptoms of these breaks include pain and swelling. The pain typically worsens when the foot bears weight, with increased activity, or at the end of the day. The most common bones in the foot to have a stress fracture are at the base of the second toe and the heel.

Stress fractures often go undiagnosed. Your podiatrist will use x-rays to view the bones in your feet. However, even with x-rays, the bone may appear normal in the first two to three weeks after injury. Even after three weeks, only subtle changes are noticed in hairline fractures. Your podiatrist will closely listen to your symptoms, conduct a physical exam, and read x-rays to diagnose a stress fracture.

To prevent stress fractures, you should slowly increase the intensity of your activity. Appropriate shoe gear is necessary to reduce the stress to your feet. Women are more prone to these fractures and need to make sure their calcium levels are appropriate. If you think you may have had a stress fracture and are experiencing persistent pain, do not neglect it. It is important to seek a podiatrist for evaluation and treatment.

If you or someone you know is experiencing pain in their feet, the doctors at Coastal Podiatry Associates are available to help. The doctors have received extensive training in all aspects of the foot and can help you return to normal activity. To determine the best course of treatment contact any one of our offices at 843-449-FOOT (3668) or visit our website at

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