Fracture fears: A nightmare comes true!

Irrational fears. We all have them: snakes, heights, public speaking … stress fractures. Runners tend to be a fearless breed, that is until it comes to debilitating injuries we just cannot run through. For me, the dreaded stress fracture has always been at the top of my list of deep, gut-wrenching fears. And considering how my thin, caucasian, female frame and my thousands of miles logged each year put me at an elevated risk, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well I’ve avoided this terrifying injury. That is, until six weeks ago. Having survived and mostly emerged from the obligatory stages of post-injury traumatic stress, I now feel relatively well equipped to share my experiences with this runner’s nightmare come true.


So what was the straw that ultimately broke the camel’s, uh … metatarsal? Two-months into a transition back from a perplexing injury in my left foot, I had been slowly increasing mileage and experimenting with a variety of footwear, terrain and barefoot running. Was it the barefoot running? Unlikely. Ironically, given some mild strain along my first metatarsal, I had decided to “play it safe” and take a hiatus from barefoot running the week leading up to the fracture. Ignoring my own advice, I instead switched to running full-time in racing flats.

Was it too much too soon? Possibly, although I had been mindfully transitioning very gradually and cautiously. Despite roughly following the 10% rule (no weekly mileage increase greater than 10%), I had unintentionally completed a particularly taxing week of training. On my first back-to-back run since returning to running I got lost, extending my planned “easy” six-mile trail run into an hour and a half adventure through a canyon. With only subtle warning signs, the fracture appeared just a few days later during an otherwise normal run.

As the term implies, a stress fracture is the result of too much stress to a bone, from any of a variety of causes. In my case I suspect a number of factors were at play. I’m an odd case of an oversupinator and underpronator, failing to complete the normal lateral to medial rolling of the foot during the stance period. Coupled with an unusually tight flexor hallucis longus tendon, my second metatarsal was undoubtedly under excess stress that would otherwise be supported by the stronger first metatarsal. My stressed bones were all the more vulnerable in a minimalist shoe that provided less protection than a standard shoe, yet less sensory feedback than bare feet to warn me of the impending fracture.


X-ray 12 days post-injury showing fracture at the head of the 2nd metatarsal.

I’ve always expected the onset of a fracture to be signaled by a definite aha moment – a sudden, stabbing unmistakable pain. Not so. Rather, the presumed onset of my fracture was accompanied by a gradually increasing numbness in the second toe and a subtle tightness along the top of the second metatarsal, neither of which qualified as painful. A tender, pea-sized lump soon appeared over the metatarsal, which I dismissed as an irritated extensor tendon. The next day, a gentle “recovery hike” sent me to the ER with electricity-like pain and an inflamed, swollen foot. Unable to walk without searing pain, I still vehemently denied the possibility of a fracture, instead self-diagnosing a case of capsulitis. Two-weeks post-injury, an X-ray confirmed the dreaded presence of a full, but non-displaced fracture across the head of the second metatarsal.


Considering the abundance of confusing and often conflicting medical and anecdotal advice, what is the best treatment approach for a rapid, healthy return to running? After researching and experimenting with numerous alternatives, the following proved most effective for my personal recovery.


1. NSAIDs and ice. You should control the unbearable pain and swelling with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and ice, right? Wrong. While they may provide temporary relief, they will likely impair the body’s beneficial inflammatory response critical to healing the damaged tissue. There is now abundant evidence that NSAIDs actually delay fracture healing (Burd et al., 2003Butcher & March, 1996; Giannoudis et al., 2000) and can often exaccerbate inflammation.

2. The boot. I wore the boot a total of just a few hours, and saw little benefit. While it did alleviate a bit of foot pain while walking, it also misaligned my legs hips and back, making it quite uncomfortable and exhausting to walk at length.


Exogen bone stimulator

1. Bone stimulation. If I were to attribute my rapid healing to any single factor, it would be low-intensity ultrasound bone stimulation. FDA-approved for treating fractures, bone stimulation is supported by research demonstrating singificantly faster bone healing. I’ve been using an Exogen bone stimulator since week two, for 20 minutes twice daily. They’re not cheap, and if you purchase one from eBay, be sure to follow these guidelines to prevent getting ripped off.

2. Supplement. Bone production requires adequate calcium, vitamin D and magnesium. Even if you think you’re getting enough from your diet, it’s a good idea to supplement for added security. Silica is also important for bone development, with the added perks of promoting hair and nail growth. Anecdotally, since I’ve started taking silica I’ve had to cut my nails twice as often as usual! To reduce inflammation naturally, without the potentially detrimental effects of NSAIDs, try turmeric, ginger or omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Rest and activity. Both are critical for the healing process and it can be challenging to determine the optimal balance. In the early stages when the bone is most fragile, immobilization is critical to prevent displacing the bone or otherwise exaccerbating the fracture. But once the critical stage has passed and the site is less vulnerable to reinjury, gentle movement and mild stress are essential to rebuild strength. An overly conservative rest period may actually delay healing and leave the bone and soft tissue weaker than pre-fracture. Non- or light-weightbearing activities will encourage circulation, increase flexibility and maintain strength while minimizing dangerous impact forces. I’ve maintained some degree of sanity with water jogging, the elliptical and running on an anti-gravity treadmill. Of course, these may not be safe for all fractures; beneficial and detrimental activity may be hard to discriminate and only you can determine your safety threshold. For those with a high pain tolerance like myself (which probably includes most injured runners … isn’t that how we got here in the first place?), a good guideline is to stop any activity that increases your level of discomfort. Note the use of the term discomfort rather than pain. Discomfort indicates you are aggravating the injury, whereas pain is a good sign that some damage has already been done.


As with any injury, the first question we runners ask is When I can run again? Although having just passed week six I’m still not running, my progress has been steady and encouraging, with several landmark transition stages.

0-2 weeks: During the acute post-injury phase I was essentially unable to walk without intense, diffuse pain throughout the foot, extending across the top and ball of the foot and through my first, second and third toes. The foot was hideously swollen and I could easily induce pain by pressing on the fracture site, bending the toe, or under vibration testing. This is by far the most difficult stage, during which you will most certainly want to crawl into a hole and hibernate until it passes. But take comfort – it will pass.

2-4 weeks: The swelling reduced somewhat and I was able to walk for short distances (< 10 minutes). Light exercise like the elliptical and anti-gravity treadmill became feasible. This stage likely corresponded with the formation of a soft callus around the fracture.

X-ray at 5 weeks shows a hazy “ghost” indicative of a hard callus.

4-6 weeks: My most significant recovery occurred at approximately four weeks. I suddenly found myself able to walk for longer periods (up to an hour), and perform forefoot-loading exercises like downward facing dog without pain. I suspect this breakthrough was coincident with the development of the hard callus. A follow-up X-ray at five weeks confirmed the presence of this hard callous, visible in the image as a hazy “ghost” around the fracture location and palpable as a firm lump. But take heed; this sudden improvement can provide a false sense of strength. This callus is in essence a bone-like patch that will be gradually remodeled over several months into permanent, stronger bone, so running on a young hard callus still carries high risk of reinjury. For me, the presence of the callus has been sufficient to preclude running, as the physical deformation from the enlargement has introduced additional strain and even bizarre nerve stimulation in the neighboring metatarsals and toes. While the fracture feels ready to run, the surrounding region is sending a cautious message that all is not yet back to normal.

Irrational by definition, ungrounded fears like sustaining a stress fracture may best be overcome by tackling them head on. Having dealt with frustratingly stubborn soft tissue injuries (achilles and peroneal tendonitis, trochanter bursitis, piriformis syndrome … the list goes on), I’ve found odd comfort in the predictable timecourse of bone healing and the straightforward, logical treatment. With every day of healing, my fracture fear slowly dissolves. The (maybe not so scary after all?) nightmare is gradually morphing into a waiting game, as I count down the final days to my official return to running – free and fearless.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

32 thoughts on “Fracture fears: A nightmare comes true!

  1. John says:

    I was encouraged to read this article. I suffered what is now a delayed union 3rd metatarsal fracture, also from running. I had gotten back into running about 2 years ago. Lost about 40 pounds (to get back to 215 — I’m a big guy to begin with), was back in tip top shape. I was doing a moderate 4-5 mile run and then a almost full sprint for the final mile to finish off. Don’t ask me why I ran like this, I just did, I felt like it was getting me in the best shape I could be in.
    Then one day, I felt pain in my right foot. Dull, aching at first, then the next day intense to the point where I could hardly walk.
    Like you, I thought it was something else, anything else. Certainly not a fracture as I had not felt that “oh sh*t” moment.
    The pain gradually subsided over several days to the point where it became more of a numbness/tingling. I didn’t notice any swelling, just some bruising here and there.
    A trip to the doctor a month later only served to tell me to wait it out, and come back if it didn’t heal.
    To make a long story short, two x-rays, a bone scan and an mri (and 4 months) later, I finally had confirmation of my injury.
    I’m in a walking cast, and was going to get the bone stimulator, but due to expense can’t at this time. That will be a next step if this refuses to heal.
    I’m hoping 6 weeks in a cast will do it.
    The hardest part is the waiting. I’ve never had time go by so slowly. I just want it to be 6 weeks from now, and begin the long trek back to the distances I was used to.
    I know this is a year later, but internet searches brought me to your article.
    Hopefully you are back on both feet and in fine running form by now!

    • Emilie Reas says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your fracture. 4 months is a terribly long time! It sounds like your injury was much more severe than mine. It’s hard to know, but I strongly suspect the bone stimulator made all the difference for me. I know it’s expensive, but it might just be what gets you back running.

      Stay positive – you WILL heal. I’ve been running happily and fracture-free for the past year. It may not be for everyone, but I’ve noticed a world of difference since switching to barefoot running. I believe my fracture was caused by improper form which I can easily correct barefoot.

      Good luck!

      • Patryk says:

        Nice going! That is one heck of a great year, even with the injuries. Really glad you staetrd blogging, not to sound corny, but it really is inspirational to read about your training. Ever consider coming over this way for the Vermont 100? Free place to crash in Maine if you need it.

  2. Audrey says:

    Thank you so much for this article, Emilie! I am in week 5 and that hard lump (that I now know to be the hard callus and actually a good thing!) was completely freaking me out.

  3. Enjoyed every bit of your article.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

  4. Jen says:

    I know this post is dated, but reading it made me feel so much better. I am in week 5 of a 3rd metatarsal (also head) non disclosed fracture. I nearly screamed out when you noted that electricity feeling when it occurred. THIS EXACT sensation happened to me. And it was two days after some hill repeats. I also, of course, assumed extensor tendon…yadda yadda…took two weeks and two xrays to show the fracture. Been wearing the boot when I need to walk around but leveled my body out with a sneaker and insert in the other foot. I am also a yoga-gal so I knew right away this crooked business was NOT going to fly. I’ve been using the ARC trainer since the two week mark…and, well, this article just solidifies my concerns about when I’ll be back to running….alas, your mention of KNOWING the process and it’s predictability was a great point. thank you for the post.

    • Emilie Reas says:

      Jen, at 5 weeks, the worst is far behind you. You’ll be back running and yoga-ing in no time!

    • Katie says:

      you mentioned you used the ARC trainer. my doctor said this was ok to use but will this prolong my recovery? I start to feel the discomfort in my foot at about the 1/2 hour mark, but still push through.

      • Emilie Reas says:

        Katie, it depends on what you mean by discomfort. If it is just mildly uncomfortable, then it probably won’t significantly set you back. However, if it is at all painful, that’s a sign that you could be doing further damage. As soon as you start to feel pain, I would stop. Always listen to your body over a doctor, even if they tell you it’s safe.

  5. Lisa says:

    Thanks Emilie. You have been so helpful in providing this post! After some puzzling pains while running and then ramping up mileage/elevation too quickly, I was eventually diagnosed with bone marrow edema in medial and lateral malleolus + talus (aka “pre-stress fracture” according to my DPM). You can also add in a little neuroma in the metatarsals.

    Surprising to everyone, swimming, pool running and stationary bike all aggravated the injury. It seems that pressure on the injured area triggered pain.

    So I’m using the Exogen bone stim + immobilization and rest (ack!!).

    I think the psychological impact of not running has been the worst part of the injury and a bit crazy-making since the rest of me is ready to run. I live in Marin Co, the running options are endless, it’s summer, and I’m inside with my leg propped up. Feel free to call the whah-ambulance. 🙂

    But I very much appreciate your straightforward explanation of Tx and what to expect. You’ve provided more info than the hurried DPM I visited. And it has been a relief to read.

    Many, many thanks again!!

    • Emilie Reas says:

      Hi Lisa – I’m so sorry to hear about your injury, but it sounds like you’re doing everything right. I’m glad you got your hands on an Exogen – that will really help. I’m from San Francsico, so I understand the frustration of not being able to run in the beautiful Bay area! Stay positive. You’ll be running again before you know it!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for all your info – I was scouring the internet and reading everything I could when I found out around August 20 of this year that I had a 2nd meta. stress fx. I am not an athlete but i had been doing a long walk on the beach and pounding my foot for a few miles when ordinarily I don’t exercise that much during the week (I real this a recipe for such a fracture). I also am past sixty and have some osteopenia. I had different opinions of how long to wear the boot. Podiatrist told me to wear it for eight weeks and not take it off at all. She also said she could not treat me for osteopenia.
    So, dediced to go to MD, orthopedic surgeon and foot/ankle specialist. Also had my bone density studies rerun and am currently waiting for result of Vit D levels (they boosted me to 2000 units a day – this appears to be more important than taking Calcium).
    Bottom line, Orthopedic MD said that if a patient has been pain free in the boot for at least two weeks, they can transition to a sneaker or soft supportive shoe. I was able to take boot off after four weeks. But then, the pain started to return at times in the evening.
    I was told to put the boot back on and sort of go back and forth. It was a bit difficult because I did not have specific instructions – but I wore the boot for six to twelve hours a day and sneaker in between. For the last week ( I was scheduled to go on a long tour in Europe) I purchased a surgical shoe with a stiff bottom to wear. By the end of the eighth week it was feeling pretty good. Now it is about ten weeks and I have not had any pain – I think it must be healed.
    Doctor discharged me after that first visit. He did not seem to give a hoot about what the regular xrays show – He bases his recommendations on what pain the patient reports.
    I wanted to report this to perhaps help – not sure how this works if you are a runner (My daugher is a track and field coach and runs triathlons however) but I think the takeaway is to not do anything stupid – be patient, increase activity gradually – if it starts to hurt again – GO BACK and rest it – don’t push it.

  7. Derl says:

    Good article. I’m 4 weeks into a 5th metatarsal fracture more towards the toe (I think a stress fracture gave way and not a Jones fracture). I’m doing about everything you recommend. I am wearing the boot however. Its the only way for me to get around pain free other than a knee scooter. Lots of recumbent bike and light weight training. Hoping to get a release from Doc to do elliptical soon. I want to get back to running but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get back to it without further damage.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Omg this sounds like what I’ve got

  9. Stella says:

    I broke my first metatarsal when a heavy duty mixer fell on my foot.i am naturally a very active on a fibre glass boot cast, and I’ve been told not to walk around.pls I need all the advice I can get.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I just went through a long 5 month recovery because my insurance would not cover the Exogen device.
    I did find out a few weeks ago that I could have rented an Exogen bone growth machine at
    bums me out, because that likely would have gotten me on my feet sooner.
    But, I am healed and life is good.

  11. Brooke Weber says:

    Hi Emilie, I am 16 yrs old and I run track and XC. I was diagnosed with female athlete triad (inadequete nutrition, amenorrhea, and low bone mass,) which caused a SF in my left tibia around late March (end of track conditioning) which I ignored it for a month. My track season started early April. I was in a boot for 3 wks, PT for 4 wks. and visits with a nutritionist, I’d also cycle and aqua jog/swim during PT. I ended up missing all of track season, which ended mid May. After PT was over I was cleared to run 1 mile x3 a week and weight training x3 a week. After a few weeks of that I was able to do the same except up to 2 miles x3 a week.I decided to start up soccer so my doctor said one practice game a week. So up until today I was running 1-2 miles x3 a week, weight training x2-3 a week and a practice game x1 a week. Today, before a run, I was walking up the stairs and felt a tiny bit of discomfort in my left tibia a little higher than my previous SF. I have an appt. tomorrow about increasing mileage and such with my doctor but with this coming up I feel like this whole process will start over. XC and Soccer starts June 15th, conditioning of course and I’m freaking out. I did what I was told to do… Is it possible to re-injure a SF, can it cause a chain reaction? it’d be awesome if you could reply to this as soon as possible. I’ve been so excited to get back to racing, I don’t know if I could handle another SF, especially back to back.

    • Emilie Reas says:

      Hi Brooke,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your fracture, but it sounds like you’re doing a fantastic job rehabbing it and listening to your body. Paying attention to those warning signs is the best thing you can do to recover and prevent another injury. That said, it can be hard to distinguish between signs of injury and just normal “niggles.” Since you’ve been running without incident for a while now, I’d guess your fracture is fully healed. It’s likely that you’ll feel scary sensations in your fracture site for a very long time. Even today, years after my fracture, I often feel “phantom” fracture pain in my metatarsal. I’d never say you’d can’t refracture a bone but it’s unlikely, since the bone remodels to be much stronger then pre-fracture. However, it’s more likely that you fracture another site, which is why it’s crucial to address why you got the first fracture to begin with (poor nutrition, poor form, etc). In fact, I fractured my 4th metatarsal just a few months after fracturing my 2nd metatarsal, but have been fracture-free since correcting some form issues. If you occasionally feel a little ache or discomfort in your tibia, I wouldn’t worry too much, but if the pain is intense or persists, definitely see a doctor. Although scary, fractures are actually one of the easiest injuries to overcome. Good luck!

  12. Marlenie says:

    Last year I got a fracture of head of 2nd metatarsal left foot – I am NOT a runner, I am 63 years old and I am happy just to be able to WALK. My issues was/is I tend to be a weekend warrior – doing three miles in the surf with some tough soled sandals set the stage… Also, I have osteopenia. It took me two separate bouts in that boot of 6 weeks each to finally get rid of it… In between – I thought I was better – did a lot of walking on a trip to Europe. The pain came back – had to go back in the boot.
    SOooooo, this summer – tried to be more careful building up the length of time I walk gradually. To make it more complicated, I have a nueroma in right foot and will have it injected with alcohol (ultrasound guided) next week – it’s been there for years and has gotten really bad. So, orthopedic surgeon prescribed some metatarsal arches – I walked with it in my sneaker over the weekend for about three miles – I developed a fracture at the head of the 5th metatarsal now in my other foot – turns out that metatarsal pad made me offload too much stress onto that 5th metatarsal – I am in the boot again and second summer in a row is sort of ruined. I am very depressed.
    I do not know what to do going forward. My bone density tests say mild osteopenia (but those tests do not measure the metatarsals). I have been taking lots of calcium (1200-200 units a day) and 2000 units of Vit D3 a day for the past year – but still, just got this new stress fracture – JUST FROM WALKING!!
    I have no idea what to do going forward and doctor does not seem to know either. She said she is an orthopedic surgeon and does not deal with the medical side. I also told her that I tend to be a forefoot striker (based upon wear pattern of sneakers) – she did not seem to make much of this. She thought a good suppportive sneaker should be fine.
    Any suggestions? Thank you.

    • Emilie Reas says:

      Hi Marlenie,

      I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with this chain of injuries. I’ve been through my own and understand the frustration. I’m not a medical doctor and don’t know enough about your situation to give personal advice, but the one tip I can give is to try to understand the cause of your repeated fractures. It may not just be the osteopenia, especially since it’s always your metatarsals, but not other bones. Very often, stress fractures result from a combination of weakness in the surrounding tissue and poor biomechanics. It sounds like you’ve had a lot of factors that could really disrupt your walking mechanics, which could put undue stress on your bones. If you’re open to it, I’d strongly suggest avoiding overly supportive shoes or orthotics that will further alter your gait. Once this fracture has healed, go barefoot or in minimalist shoes whenever possible. This will correct your mechanics and strengthen the muscles and tendons in your feet to reduce the stress on your bones. I fractured my 2nd and 4th metatarsals experimenting with all sorts of different shoes, but have been fracture-free since going fully barefoot 2 years ago. Good luck!

      • Marlenie says:

        Dear Emilie, THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking the time to respond. Interestingly, I had this exact conversation earlier today with my daughter who is a runner and has competed in several triathalons and iron man events – also, she is a track and field coach at the college level. We were discussing this exact thing – I had read that some other doctors say that orthotics and inserts in shoes are bad as are “overly supportive” shoes. I think that once healed, as you mention, I will try gradually getting used to bare feet and minimalist support. I have avoided it due to the pain of my neuroma, and have been favoring very cushiony footwear, but once this is healed (hopefully) I may be able to resume walking barefoot gradually. I would like to try this before I go back onto osteopenia meds that have their own complications and side effects. THANKS AGAIN. You made me feel better already.

  13. Anonymous says:

    So I stress fractured the second metatarsal in my right foot two months ago from jumping rope for several months on a brick patio. (I used to run a lot but switched to jumping rope last year). The podiatrist put me in a boot but two weeks later, told me that I could stop using it as was feeling much better. Wish he hadnt. Yesterday, the pain came back after three days of working out a cardio dvd… Aaaaaargh! I suppose I just couldnt take inactivity any longer. Anyway, I put the boot back on starting today and this time will wear it for four weeks no matter how improved it feels. I dont think i need to see the quack again. Will report here at the end of october. Thx for your helpful post.

    • marlenie says:

      I went to orthopedic surgeon after an overly conservative podiatrist – foot and ankle – in fact i’ve been to two of them… both suggest more or less the same…. typically six weeks minimum for a stress fracture in the boot – more likely eight weeks – depends how bad it is – pain felt by the patient is what rules…. the rule of thumb is that once you have at least two weeks of zero pain in the boot (wear it all day except to sleep and even then be careful – if it is painful when you sleep and you ar an active sleeper – you may want to wear a lighter short boot and put in a pillow case at night – ) after two weeks pain free they say to wean yourself by wearing it for say six hours and then six hours off and switch to a comfortable sturdy sneaker. go back to acitivity very gradually… if you have pain – wear the boot more hours the next few days…. the problem was – no one told me how much to do – i walked all over europe for hours and the fracture came back a couple of weeks later – so, the pain was not instant…. I just had a second metatarsal stress fracture at base of 5th met in other foot – but as soon as I felt pain I went to doctor – she said I got it early – and it was more likely a “stress reaction”…by not ignoring it and going right into the boot it was pretty much better in four weeks, then went into sneakers and did not do any long active walks – shorter walks… hope this helps.

  14. B says:

    Thanks for being so thoughtful to share with us your experience. The detail in your writing was comforting to read. I felt like I had a friend in you and absolutely loved it. I’m in my 4th week and I’ve had a nightmare podiatrist. So your writing has literally saved me from my uncertainty and revisting feelings of despair. My podiatrist was largely negligent, fraudulent and discriminatory with an excellent hand shake and smile. He provided no clear answers to where my fracture was located. He gave me contradictions to what I could or could not do and seemed to even abett me with a macho story of how he was playing golf the next day after arthroscopic knee surgery. He gave me a post operative slipper and scheduled me for an appointment 14 days later and was upset I took his profit margin at the potential loss of recovery of 14 days because I picked up a cam boot and exogen on Amazon. I got the boot for $35 and read reviewers on Amazon upset about thier podiatrists charging thier insurance companies up to $250 for the same boot. It’s a shame that there are more podiatrist with the mentalities of corrupt car mechanics. When I asked for all 3 of x-rays from all 3 appointments 1 was missing and the first was someone elses foot. Thanks again for your post. After experiencing all this, hearing you makes me feel all the more appreciative about you as if I’ve got a bud who has been there. Hope you’re healed up and thanks again!

    • marlenie says:

      I made the same mistake as you did – twice – do NOT use a PODIATRIST for a stress fracture. Go to a good board-certified orthopedic surgeon M.D.- foot an ankle specialist. They are hard to find but they are worth the search. They just have much more training and skill than a podiatrist does.

      • S says:

        I am really sorry to hear that both of you had terrible experiences with podiatrists. Newer podiatrists have the same training as MDs and an additional 4 years of surgical training over orthopedists.

        I am really sorry that you went through what you did but in defense of my profession, I hope you give someone newer to the field with more thorough training a chance in the future.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this article. I am at the end of week 6. Stress fracture 3rd met. I started out with the boot but after two weeks it seemed to get worse. So I took two weeks off work took off all weight and now on my 5th week I’m using a crutch and a supportive shoe. The boot just doesn’t seem to help me. It puts pressure right on the ball of my foot which is where all my pain is. I can’t believe that a boot helps every single case.
    I have a TENS machine not sure if it’s exactly like the bone stimulator but it does seem to be helping. Stimulating the nerves around the fracture point. I’ve been so stressed out since I have a long vacation planned in just 10 more days. I wanted to be ready for it but it looks like I might have to take the boot with me. Not sure what other alternatives I have, maybe a cane.

  16. Melody says:

    Thank you for the Article. I have been a runner for almost 27 years and this past May 2nd I dropped a 45lb weight on my right foot fracturing my 2nd metatarsal. I was on crutches until I could put weight on my foot (about a week), then in a post op shoe for a short time (it caused pain due to the soft tissue damage). As soon as I could with mild discomfort I was on the elliptical for short (20 minutes max) duration’s. I tried getting back to running about July 7th (slower and shorter distances). I now cannot run at all, not due to any pain or discomfort since I don’t have any; but because even though there is exuberant callus formation they can still see the fracture, so they say (as of 4 weeks ago) “delayed union”. I was told no cardio….I tried but after two weeks I was back on the elliptical and I am now on the stair master. I have not eve tried running…..which is HUGE for me.

  17. davidmmorton says:

    Thanks. I needed this today. Finally became successful at running last year, managing to avoid shin splints and plantar fasciitis, and I even ran my first half marathon ever, doing it with a sub-2 hour time.

    And now I’m pretty sure I have a stress fracture. It’s like my body said, “great! You did it! You lost the weight and ran that run. Peace out!” ✌️

    Argh. Good to know this too will heal, but I’m not looking forward to 6 weeks or more of off time

  18. if anyone reading this needs an affordable bone stimulator, you can obtain one fully-guaranteed from Mountain Family Products. Thank you for this important article. We know it has helped many people.

  19. Rhonda says:

    10 months ago my 18 year old daughter got a stress fracture in her 2nd metatarsal. She is a 400, 800 runner on track team. She took time off and only did cross training, biking, underwater treadmill. This happened February 15th didn’t return to running until may working her way back very slowly. She got some sesmoditis then also in her right foot. She gradually worked back up to running 3 miles in June but the sesmoiditis got worse and she had to take 4 weeks off. That went away completely and started slowly returning to running using the alterG then moving to ground. She is freshman in college and runs on the track team. They continued the slow progress back also. She was running 3 miles every other day, cross training on other days. Everything was going good and all of sudden she had pain the end of September. They X-rayed and did MRI nothing was fractured but found some swelling/edema. They made her take 5 weeks off and restarted the process again after 5 weeks of cross training. She has worked with the gait analysis coach and has been running on a treadmill to a metronome. She had been running 20minutes and yesterday her foot hurt again. It went away after 2 hours. Is there a thing as phantom pain and should she try to run through it. Looking for any help.

  20. S says:

    I love this post, I am sorry that you had to go through this process but, as a podiatry student, this post has truly helped me understand:
    1. Bone remodeling in the metatarsals
    2. Stress fractures in the metatarsals
    3. What to say to runners coming in and how to give them solutions
    4. Be more aware of what patients like you are going through.

    I can’t thank you enough!


Leave a Reply to Derl Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: