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As the foot takes the weight of the body, it is very prone to developing small 'hairline' fractures in its small or long bones. On X-Rays, they appear as very small cracks in the bone and are hard to pinpoint. These fractures can either be caused by a trauma to the foot such as jumping from a significant height and landing on your foot (this frequently causes heel bone fractures) or they can develop over time from tugging of the attached muscular tendons and soft tissue (fascia). They can also develop due to bone weakness, and may help diagnose deficiency of nutrients.
Some stress fractures may heal upon rest whereas some can go on to cause complications such as pain and inflammation due to non-union (does not heal). In the foot, most of these fractures occur in the fifth metatarsal bone (the fifth or most lateral long bone just proximal to your toes)
If you develop extreme pain that gradually increases throughout the day and diminishes upon the rest, or you have swelling or tenderness around a painful area, visit Southlake podiatrist to find out whether a stress fracture is a possibility.
Podiatrists, via imaging, diagnose stress fractures. Since they are hard to see on X-Rays, you may be referred for an MRI or bone scan.