At Sydney CBD, we have a special interest in the diagnosis and treatment of foot and lower leg problems.

The Best Way to Treat Metatarsal Stress Fractures

metatarsal stress fractures

The Best Way to Treat Metatarsal Stress Fractures

Metatarsal stress fractures are incredibly painful and extremely frustrating injuries. Athletes spend years training for a particular event, and without any warning, they develop stress fractures. Metatarsal fractures are one of the most common injuries that occur within the sporting community. But how are they caused?

The five long bones that extend all the way to your toes are known as metatarsals. Overuse of these bones results in the injury. It typically occurs because of two reasons; the first is when the bones cannot keep up with the repair process after they have been subject to an excessive amount of stress. The second is when an abnormal bone is subjected to a reasonable amount of stress and yet cannot cope with it. This is also known as insufficiency fracture.

How Are Stress Fractures Caused?

There is a wide range of factors that can result in the development of metatarsal stress fractures. The most common reason why this occurs is a result of external actors like excessive load, the type of activity, and insufficient recovery time. Internal factors like low body weight, poor conditioning, sex, poor nutrition, and low bone density can also result in metatarsal fractures.

A surge in the levels of activity is another common reason why these stress fractures occur. Factors like increased frequency in training or increased duration of exercise can also cause metatarsal fractures. Medical conditions that reduce the density of the bones significantly increase the risk of fractures from occurring. Here are the symptoms of a metatarsal stress fractures:

  • Tenderness or intense pain along the bones.
  • Pain during basic activities like walking or jumping, and instant relief after rest.
  • They commonly take place in the 2nd or 3rd metatarsal in the foot.
  • Considerable swelling and bruising on the foot.


What To Do If You Suffer From This Injury?

Visit a medical professional as soon as possible, as ignoring this pain will only aggravate it and lengthen your recovery time.


The Podiatrist will first discuss your diet and general health. They will then have an in-depth talk about your training program and how your pain began. The podiatrist will then examine your foot and gently apply pressure over the area of your injury. The pain is generally localised directly above the injured bone. To help with the diagnosis, they might even order x-rays or MRI’s and other tests.


The main objective of treatment is to ease the pain and ensure the best chance for healing, as fast as possible. Even if you suffer from a metatarsal fracture, it doesn’t mean that you have to put a stop to your exercises. All you have to do is alter the kind of activities you involve yourself in.

For example, although you might not be able to run, you can always switch to swimming or even cycling. In most cases, protective footwear is required. The podiatrist may recommend that you wear a stiff-soled shoe or even a removable fracture boot. This would depend on the level of injury and pain you are experiencing.


The typical time-frame for the bone to heal is anywhere between 6-8 weeks. Although these fractures are incredibly frustrating, if you start your activities in a contained way, you will recover faster. Re-injuries to the bone lead to severe and long-lasting damage, which is why you need to increase your activity levels with care. This makes it extremely important that you follow the advice of your podiatrist and physiotherapist.

We offer tailored treatment options for flat feet and other foot-related problems. For information on our podiatry services, at Sydney Sports Podiatry, feel free to contact us at either one of our locations.

Thanks for reading,
Sydney Sports Podiatry
1300 474 306