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What exactly is a stress fracture?

A stress fracture is a small crack or fracture of a bone, typically in the foot it involves the metatarsal bones. The fracture is usually not do to an injury of some sort, but rather an overuse of that foot. For example if a sedentary person goes on vacation and does a lot of walking, they can be prone to a stress fracture. Even an active person that rapidly increases an exercise program can develop one. Usually they are not initially visualized on xrays, but will show up as an “area of healing” several weeks following the onset of pain. Treatment usually involves curtailing all strenuous activity, possibly wearing a protective shoe until the pain resolves and healing is evident on radiograph. It takes bone about 6 week to heal.
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