Stress fracture in foot

11th December 2023


“I recently began jogging every morning and have just been diagnosed with a stress fracture in my foot. How did it develop and how long should I stay off it?”


A stress fracture is generally caused by repetitive forces placed on a bone. An increase in training volume is a common cause. The repetitive forces placed on your bone are due to two mechanisms: compression forces and bending forces (ie. by muscles). This is often seen in running athletes, ballet dancers or even long distance walkers. 

Commonly, the sequence of events leading to a stress fracture is: pain after exercise; pain during exercise; and pain without exercise. You risk completely fracturing the bone in your foot if you continue jogging without listening to your body. 

Diagnosis of this condition is usually done clinically by a doctor or physiotherapist and is often confirmed by a diagnostic scan. 

Treatment of stress fractures requires avoidance of stressful activity (pardon the pun!). Depending on your situation, your practitioner will guide you as to how long you must stay off your foot. Generally speaking, the consensus is non-weight bearing for 4-6 weeks with your foot in a cast or boot. 

It is important to get advice by a health professional after your stress fracture has healed. A physiotherapist can help you here. They will review any risk factors that can predispose you to re-injury, check your lower limb biomechanics and setup a program that will ‘gradually’ progress you to previous jogging volumes.