Doctor wrapping a patient’s arm to help with stress fracture symptoms

CityMD's guide to stress fracture symptoms: listen to your body.

In our active lives, it's crucial to recognize when our bodies are signaling for help. Stress fractures, small cracks in bones, are common yet often overlooked injuries that demand attention. Stress fracture symptoms can be extremely painful, but how do you spot them?

At CityMD, we’re dedicated to helping you understand and respond to these signals effectively.

What is a stress fracture?

A stress fracture is a tiny break in a bone caused by repetitive force, often from overuse. Unlike sudden fractures from accidents, stress fractures develop gradually, making early detection tricky.

They're frequent in weight-bearing bones of athletes and active individuals, like the feet, knees and lower legs.


Stress fracture symptoms.

Identifying stress fracture symptoms early can prevent further injury. Look out for:

  • Pain that increases with activity: Initially mild, it worsens during weight-bearing activities and eases with rest.
  • Swelling and tenderness: The area around the pain may be swollen and tender to the touch.
  • Bruising: In some cases, you might notice bruising.

Remember, these symptoms develop gradually, distinguishing stress fractures from acute injuries.


Can stress fracture heal on its own?

Stress fractures, if given the right conditions, can heal on their own. This natural healing process requires two key elements: rest and time. It's crucial to reduce or eliminate activities that put stress on the injured area. Rest allows the body to initiate the healing process, repairing the small cracks in the bone.

Depending on the severity and location of the fracture, healing can take several weeks to months. However, it's essential to consult a healthcare provider at your local CityMD for proper guidance, as some cases may require more intervention to ensure complete and proper healing.


Can you walk on a stress fracture?

Walking on a stress fracture is generally not advised, especially without medical guidance. Continuing to put weight or stress on the affected area can worsen the injury and prolong the healing process.


Treating stress fractures at CityMD.

At CityMD, we begin with a thorough examination and imaging tests like X-rays to confirm a stress fracture diagnosis. When needed, we provide non-surgical treatments and follow-up care with an orthopedic specialist as part of our connected care model with Summit Health.

To learn more about why you should visit the Summit Health orthopedics department watch this video.

Treatment for stress fractures usually involves:

  • Rest: The cornerstone of healing; avoiding high-impact activities is crucial.
  • Supportive gear: We may recommend braces or supports to aid healing.
  • Physical therapy: To strengthen surrounding muscles and prevent future injuries.
  • Surgery: In rare cases, more severe fractures may require surgical intervention.

Our team works with each patient to create a personalized treatment plan, ensuring safe and effective recovery. Depending on what treatment you need, we can refer you to the right specialist to treat your stress fracture.



Listening to your body is key. You should never ignore persistent bone pain, as it's often the first sign of a stress fracture. With proper care and attention, most stress fractures heal completely, allowing a safe return to your active lifestyle.

If you're experiencing persistent pain in your feet or legs or have concerns about bone health, visit CityMD for expert care and guidance.

Your bones support you every day; it's time to return the favor.

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