Stress fractures and stress reactions occur in the bones of the foot in several groups: athletes, the elderly, diabetics with neuropathy, and individuals with foot deformity. A stress fracture occurs from repetitive stress that exceeds the body’s ability to heal and remodel. They occur most commonly in the metatarsals (mostly second, third, and fifth), but also occur occasionally in the navicular, calcaneus, and sesamoid bones (beneath the ball of the foot at the great toe). A stress reaction is similar to a fracture but usually isn't visible on plain x-rays.
Diagnosis is made by history of pain and swelling of the foot without a known specific trauma. Pain and swelling are usually focused to the area of the injury. The person has typically increased their level of activity a few weeks prior to the injury. They may also have a foot deformity that puts extra pressure on the area of injury. X-rays are often normal in the first two to three weeks, but later show calcium or "callus" around the area of injury. An MRI scan can be helpful if the diagnosis is unclear.
Symptoms of stress fractures are pain and swelling focused in the area of injury. Patients usually limp but are able to put some weight down.
Add diversity of exercise and low impact activities to reduce the risk of repeatedly stressing the same part of your foot. Maintaining a healthy weight can ensure the pressure on the foot is not too strenuous. Maintain a diet that is rich in vitamin D and calcium.