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Stress fracture - Ankle and foot

Stress fractures are most common in the athletic population, in fact, 98.5% of all stress fractures affect the sporting types. Such fractures are a result of repetitive submaximal loads without adequate recovery time, or inadequate biological repair.

Factors that can influence the potential for stress fractures include:-

  • Type and frequency of activity

  • Footwear

  • Playing surface

  • Blood supply

  • Structural integrity of the bones

  • Endocrine abnormalities

Most stress fractures of the ankle and foot can be treated conservatively, initially with non-weightbearing rest for 4-6 weeks, with plans for early range of motion and a return to weightbearing in a fracture boot. The most common areas for stress fracture in the ankle and foot are the base 5th metatarsal, navicular, medial malleolus. If insufficient action isn't taken, then they are likely to need surgery to stabilise.

Other treatments may include vitamin D and calcium supplementation, bone stimulation, and shockwave therapy. Early diagnosis is critical to avoid lengthy periods away from their sport.

Vera, A.M. and Patel, K.A. (2021). Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. Operative Techniques in Sports Medicine. 29(3). 150852.


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