I hate Stress Fractures!

So if you didn’t hear already, I got a calcaneus stress fracture while running the Seattle Marathon this past weekend. The thing about stress fractures is (or so I’ve been told) is that they don’t usually happen because of one specific event, unless you consider “training over a 6 week period” a single event. The problem this presents (at least for me) is that I can’t seem to tell how much training is too much training… until >>POW<< mile 23 of a marathon I have a stress fracture.

Calcaneus Bone


78 Responses to “I hate Stress Fractures!”

  1. Rahim Rahman Says:

    Bummer! I developed (being the keyword) 3 stress fractures on the shins of both legs (1 on the right and 2 on the left) in May and had to be off running for 2 months. I jumped in the pool with an aqua belt and ran. It wasn’t all that great but it was the only thing I could do at that point besides swimming.

    I hope you’ll have a speedy recovery and be back pounding the pavement/treadmill/ (haha!)/trail soon!

  2. Searching for “calcaneus”? « ZappoMan - Fitness Blog Says:

    […] Oh yeah… my calcaneus stress fracture is feeling much better. I’m far from 100%, and I surely can’t run yet. But I’m off my crutches, and I don’t even need my boot all of the time. […]

  3. Yeah! I rode my bike today! « ZappoMan - Fitness Blog Says:

    […] Well, I have finally decided my heal is healed enough to ride my bike on the open road. So today I went for a nice short (25 mile) bike ride on my new-ish single speed fixed wheel bike. […]

  4. Rob Says:

    Well, I was doing HIIT on treadmill, on Nov 7. Had some discomfort 3-4 times previous, in my left outside foot. Just got new shoes and figured the feet were just getting used to them..Then at the end of 21 min intervals..wham, bam..sensation like someone cracking their knuckles, and felt like my foot was in a vise.

    Doc said the discomfort was start of the fracture…5th metatarsal at the foot. Hope to rid of the boot, on Dec 19. Would have felt better about it, if I had done something stupid to cause it. Never had a broken bone before…BUMMER…..RR

  5. zappoman Says:


    Good luck on your recovery. I am happy to repoort that I am off crutches, out of the boot, and able to walk comfortably. I’ll probably wait another couple weeks before I go out an run, but I’m able to ride my bike, swim, and do upper body weight training.


  6. Rob Says:

    Good luck to you, also..!!! RR

  7. Michelle Says:

    Hey there! Sorry to hear about the stress fracture! I just got one from the Seattle Marathon as well… what a bummer! All I want to do is get out and run! Did your doctor offer any alternative exercises in the mean time?

    Any suggestions would be awesome!

  8. zappoman Says:

    Michelle, sorry to hear about your stress fracture. Where is it? Is it in your heel, foot, leg, or hip? Good luck on your recovery.

    My recovery is coming along quite well, in fact, I’ve got an appointment with a sports rehab clinic tomorrow to start the process of fitting for orthotics so that I will hopefully be able to run injury free from here on out.

    As for alternate training, I am fortunate to be able to cycle and swim which of course are important parts of my triathlon training. I have also added more strength training (particularly upper body) work to my training routine.

    Also, a friend of mine recently forwarded me a very interesting article about isometric training for faster running. And now that I think about it, this is a style of “strength” training that can be done in a non-impact way. I will post a blog entry on it later today for those of you who are interested.

  9. Non-weight baring strength training for your legs? « ZappoMan - Fitness Blog Says:

    […] Anyway, I got another comment on my blog post today about my stress fracture from another runner who also got a stress fracture while running the Seattle Marathon. Michelle asks if my doctor gave me any suggestions for other exercises that I could do instead of running. I’ve stayed active using a combination of non-weight baring exercises. But I too am looking for solutions to add lower body strength training back to my routine. […]

  10. Rob Says:

    For legs, I have been doing leg curls and leg exentions on machine and one legged leg press. It’s not a lot, but it helps…and doing HIIT on recumbent stationary cycle…Did 20 miles this morning…got up a great sweat…..

  11. Misha Says:

    Also got a calcaneal stress fracture recently… but took 3 weeks to diagnose… now I am in the boot, at least 5 more weeks to go. It sucks, but luckily there is swimming which seems to be a pretty good workout. Also it helps to have blogs like this so I know there are other people suffering out there with the same injury πŸ™‚

  12. Rob Says:

    Misha and others…Hang in there. Got rid of my boot on Dec 19. About 6 weeks worth. My hip started hurting from wearing the thing, I think. I still cannot work for 4 more weeks, though, while it heals. Looked at the xrays and the crack is sure pronounced, but is healing. Leg day today leg extension and leg curls…. will do some abs and chins etc to fill out the period….good luck to all and Merry Christmas

  13. Matt Rupert Says:

    Found your blog searching for this topic “calcaneus stress fracture” (see mine: http://matthewrupert.wordpress.com).

    I got a doozy of a calcaneus stress fracture while training for the Chicago Marathon. The podiatrist said it was really bad (3 large cracks). How is your recovery? What are you doing?

    I started running this week, just 3 miles here and there, and I’m so mad because it feels a little funny, like maybe i’m not ready yet…

  14. zappoman Says:

    Matt, Sorry to hear about your stress fracture. As you can see from all the posts to my blog, you’re not alone in your pain.

    My stress fracture is healing well, I haven’t gone for a run yet, although I think I might be ready soon. In the mean time, I’ve been swimming, biking, doing strength training, and like you, I started a blog.

    I also learned that my stress fractures (I got one last year in the other heel) are probably caused by my high arches. And so I’ve been fitted for orthotics and my doctor and PT think that once I get these my risk of more injuries will significantly decrease. I am excited about that!

    Good luck in your recovery, and don’t push yourself too soon!

  15. RawRunner Says:

    My heel bone suffered a stress fracture in November 2006. Prior to diagnosis, I ran 6 miles in 60 minutes. Now that I’m out of the cam walker, how do I “ease back into” running? If, for example, I ran 3 miles in 30 minutes, would my heel bone snap in half?

    I am an ambitious 35-year-old runner, who assumed that the stress fracture was caused by running. Is running always the cause? Could this stress fracture actually be a sign of osteoporosis?

    Your commentary on your personal experiences will add value to feedback I receive from doctors who do not run.


  16. Rob Says:

    From what I can gather, reading the on the internet, my stress fracture was the result of overuse. However, I am getting a bone density test on Jan 8. What really gets me, is that I have never had a broken bone before, I could not understand how this could happen, without having some outside source of trama. But in reading on it, all I can figure is overuse. I was doing HIIT (hight intensity interval training), and it just broke. Happened on Nov 7. Boot off on 19 Dec, but still sore at times. Dr appt again on Jan 16. RR

  17. RawRunner Says:

    Thanks for getting back to me.

    Do you know when you will be running again?

    Like you, I have never broken a bone until I had a stress fracture in November 2006. Good luck with your bone density test! I’m going to see if I can get one too, just to safe.

  18. Rob Says:

    I dont know when I will start running again. Not until I am sure this problem is completely rectified. I have been pedalling the recumbent bike, as a replacement to running and still lifing weights ( no deadlifts or squats, though). RR

  19. zappoman Says:


    This is ZappoMan… I see that Rob responded to your question, and I suspect his experience is similar to many. It certainly is very similar to mine.

    I didn’t have any specific trauma that caused my stress fracture, and so the best explanation is “over use” or “ramping too quickly” which I guess you could say is similar to overuse, since both are essentially caused by too much activity without enough recovery.

    When I got my first stress fracture, a year ago, my Doctor described the situation as this: when you do high impact activity (like running) you are actually causing many small injuries throughout your body, recovery is needed to allow your body to heal and become stronger. In the case of your muscles you know this as adaptation and getting stronger… but the same applies to your bones (even if you’ve never had a broken bone in your life).

    Of course now after getting another stress fracture, and after spending some time a sports medicine rehab clinic, my doctor and I are now convinced that my problems came from an underlying need for orthotics to better support my foot form (specifically high arches and a ‘hard’ impact to my heels in my running style).

    If you are only seeing a general practitioner for your stress fracture, I would recommend you try to find a specialist in sports medicine or at least an expert in knee, foot and ankles. I obviously don’t know your doctor, and I am not a medical professional. But I read a great article referenced by Matt on his blog, that I think sums up how most doctors approach serious runners. Namely that they don’t really understand us, and that we may in fact no much more about our injury than they do. This is why I strongly suggest seeing a doctor who has an awareness of sports medicine and a desire to work with you as an athlete.

    Good luck in your recovery!

  20. RawRunner Says:

    Thanks so much for the helpful information!

    My two podiatrists are attentive, but do not seem sports-oriented. When I am in their offices, I frequently hear them discussing diabetes-related foot problems and trying to coax sedentary patients out of high-heels. If you are a fit runner, it’s easy to feel like an anomaly in the waiting room.

    I currently use Spenco inserts and will look into having custom-made orthotics.

    Thanks again for your help!

  21. ZappoMan - Fitness Blog : Thoughts on Fitness, Health, Diet, Marathons, Triathlons, and Ironman by Brad Hefta-Gaub » 2007 Season Underway Says:

    […] week. I also plan to add a process oriented goal for running, once I’ve got my new orthotics and I am cleared to run after my stress fracture. I’ve settled on all my “planned” races. This includes my ‘A’ and […]

  22. Amy Says:

    I am currently dealing with a calcaneus stress fracture. I am in a walking cast and crutch. I was beginning to train for a Spring marathon and poof! now I am not running at all. I’m wondering since I caught it so early ( took anMRI to detect) will it really be 6 weeks before I can run?

  23. John Says:

    I was looking up “calcaneus stress frature” and found I’m not alone out here. I’m in week 3 of the boot and feeling better, but not much. I abuse my feet due to my day gig…do any of you that are into recovery for longer than 3 weeks have any time frame when you got back to some level of feeling ok to get up to full speed again? Just curious…keep hearing 6 weeks is a good benchmark.

  24. zappoman Says:

    Amy and John:

    I’m not a doctor… just a patient who’s done this dance twice now… So, take my advice as being worth what you paid for it…. πŸ˜‰

    In the case of my first stress fracture, I was back running again in 4 weeks. My doctor was amazed at my fast recovery. When I went to his office to get his blessing to run again, he made me jump up and down on one foot (the one with the injury) to verify that I indeed had no pain.

    In the case of my second stress fracture, I felt like I was fully recovered in about 5 weeks. But, I have not yet started running because I wanted to get my new orthotics. This is because my doctor (and PT) believe that my stress fractures were caused by “mechanical inefficiencies in my feet that led to stride abnormalities that led to my stress fractures”.

    I posted a little bit more information on my findings at this post: Stress Fracture Q&A

  25. RawRunner Says:

    Does the pain of a calcaneus fracture ever go away completely?

  26. zappoman Says:

    RR, Sorry to hear you are still in pain. When exactly was your injury? Early or Late November 2006? Either way it sounds like it’s been between 7-10 weeks, which is in the zone of what I’ve heard for typical recovery times.

    Since you were in the boot/cam-walker for 4 weeks, I would imagine that your injury was pretty serious. Have you been walking pain free? Have you started running again?

    In my cases (twice now), I’d say that pain in walking was gone in about 3 weeks.

    The first time around I was totally pain free in 4 weeks… but my Doctor was absolutely amazed at this recovery. I started running on the treadmill in week 5 and slowly moved to open road running after about 8 weeks.

    This time around I took a little longer before I felt the pain was gone enough to run, and I didn’t start running until 7 weeks. I am running now and don’t feel pain in my heel.

    That being said, I am “aware” of my feet more than before. I do feel some random “sensations” in my feet every once in a while. Is it really pain? Well, I don’t call it pain. But I have a pretty high pain threshold (at least I think I do).

    If you are still in pain when you walk (let’s say a 5+ on the perceived pain index), and you haven’t been doing any weight baring exercise at all (I mean no running, no elliptical, no leg strength training, no hard hill climbing on a bike, etc.), than it seems like things are taking a little long to heal, and I’d want to ask why. I guess I’d say that you should talk to your doctor…

    But if you’ve been training on it (maybe against your doctors advice), and you’ve been training hard, and you are pain free most of the time but when you go for a run you have spurts of slight pain in your heel (let’s say a 3 on the PPI) then probably you’re just pushing yourself too hard too fast. And you need to slow down.

    I’m taking my recovery slow… 7 weeks before I got back to running… no more than 3 runs a week, started with 1.5 miles on a treadmill, I’ve worked up to 5.25 miles. I don’t plan to add more than 10% to a max run per week. Which means I won’t be back to Marathon distance until mid-May.

    Good luck! I am wishing you well.

  27. ruth Says:

    I was just diagnosed with my second stress fracture. It is exactly the same spot in my lower leg where I had the last one. The Dr. said that there is only a 10%chance of getting one in the same spot. I just dont understand I stopped running for 6 months and its back! I am so so bummed.

  28. lily Says:

    I was recently diagnosed with a nasty stress fracture on my left tibia and two milder ones on the right tibia. This was confirmed by bone scan. I am a runner and had my heart set on 8 marathons between April 2007- October 2007, but my doctor says I cannot run for 6 months!!!! Oh the torture of it all!!! I told my doctor that when I run on the grass, I barely have any pain at all, but he still says I cannot run, and I do not see why I cannot, if I keep my mileage low until I heal. I am also doing some weight training,aquatic running in a pool and cycling, and all without pain. I am trying to be good, but I do not know if I can keep the promise of not running at all for 6 straight months!! I get depressed thinking about having to do that. I am taking some Oscal with vitamin D to help heal the the fracture, but I eat healthy and drink plenty of milk anyway. My questions are, if it barely hurts to run on grass, why is running so bad, and also, is it true it takes 6 entire months for a stress fracture to heal? Thank you Lily

  29. luke Says:

    well yes i broke my ankle by getting hit by a car i got a hard cast and it hurt for the first week and then i got used to it and after 6 weeks they took off the cast and took out the pin and i had to start to walk im used to walking now but i really hope to learn to run soon because i want to get back to playing football

  30. Lenard Says:

    Just diagnosed with a stress fracture of the heal. Is a cast a requirement for resolution, or can one heal without the cast?

  31. Hank Says:

    Beleive I developed a stress fracture on last long run before a marathon. Marathon is next week. Will any additional damage be done if I still run it?

  32. zappoman Says:

    Hank, I would think that it would be very difficult to run on a stress fracture. I got mine at mile 23 of the marathon, and was unable to run at all after that, I walked the last 3.2 miles, and tried to run the last 100 yards… you can see the video of my wincing in pain as I cross the finish line if you look here…


    Anyway, when I got to the finish line all of the medical professionals scolded me for finishing with 3 miles to go.

    I think that some other people who posted here, got a stress fracture and kept training on it, and the result is that it has taken much longer for them to recovery.

    When I got mine, I shut down all weight baring activity (you can read about it on this blog) and the result was a fast (5 week) recovery.

    Anyway, I think you should probably reconsider. Sorry.

    The good news is the sooner you start recovering, the sooner you will be back to running again.

    Again, sorry to be the one to deliver the bad news.

    Good luck!

  33. Lara Says:

    I suffered a stress fracture of my pubic ramus the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. After nearly 16 weeks, I still have pain in the area if I try to jog. I have been told to expect 6-12 months of recovery time by an orthopedic surgeon. What a drag to be away from running all this time. Best wishes for recovery to everyone!

  34. lily Says:

    I have since taken up cycling again, after my tibial stress fractures. I haven’t had any pain riding my road bike, even when going up steep hills and having to really work my legs. I have no clue why a short run does still cause me pain after about e 2nd mile, though. Wish me luck. I have been training for a 215 mile one day bike road ride, which I will do in July. This has at least given me a sort of consolation for not being able to run. I wish every one as speedy a recovery as possible. I know it can be torture having to wait to run again. I think the OS CAL I have been taking is also helping a lot with healing my stress fracture. Lily

  35. Amanda Says:

    I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my left fibula, last october and didnt start running again till early january which gave it plenty of time to heal. Once I started up again I went back gradually and didnt overtrain. Also, after I was diagnosed I took calcium chews with vitamin D everyday but all of these precautions seem useless as I now have another stress fracture only this time in the metatarsal of my foot! I’m on crutches now and its only been a week, hopefully this one will heal faster atleast. I can relate to other peoples posts as how frustrating it is to get this injury out of nowhere and from no specific event and usually at a really good fitness level! Best wishes to everyone in their recovery!

  36. zappoman Says:

    Amanda, Sorry to hear about your injury. I too got multiple stress fractures even though I thought I had learned my lesson and came back “slowly”. My doctor believes my stress fractures were due to the shape of my feet and the fact that I was running without custom made orthotics. I now have orthotics, and hopefully they are really protecting my feet, but I still worry.

    Good luck in your recovery!

  37. Kelly Says:

    I am training for my first marathon. After an 18 mile run I noticed some pain in my heel. The next day I noticed that it really hurt if I pinched both sides of my heel rather than if I stood on the fleshy pad underneath. I stayed off of it for a few days, but then continued my training- running 25-35 miles per week. It hurts a little- but not enough to stop me from training. Does this sound like a stress fracture? Is this something I should get checked out? I obviously want to finish my first marathon (June 3rd)- so I am concerned.

  38. Kelly Says:

    ALSO: I have also been told that I have high arches…could this be the cause of my problems and what can I do?

  39. zappoman Says:


    I am not a doctor, so please consider that when I give you my feedback. But I have had two calcaneus stress fractures now, and it sounds like you have a very mild case of a stress fracture.

    The most significant symptom is the pain when pressing the sides of your heal, but not from hitting the bottom of your heal. That diagnostic test was how my doctor differentiated between stress fracture and other possible injuries.

    If you are still able to walk and run, then your fracture is not too bad right now… and I would say that you may be able to still make your marathon. If you’re already up to 18 miles and your marathon isn’t until June 3rd, then you are ahead of the curve. You can probably afford to take a little more time than a “few days” to give you heel a chance to heal.

    Since you don’t want to lose aerobic fitness, you can switch to cross-training activities like biking and swimming for the next couple weeks…

    Here’s my recommendation:

    1) Take 2 weeks off from ANY running – I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s better to take that time now than to end up missing your marathon.

    2) Switch to cycling or swimming or water running – these are lower impact and will reduce the risk of aggravating your stress fracture more. Water running is a great alternative, because you’ll get a good aerobic workout, and you’ll actually find that it will help build your leg muscles.

    3) Don’t come back to running if you have any pain in your heel.

    4) When you come back, make sure to always give yourself at least 1 day in between every run. No back to back run days… probably for at least 6 months to a year.

    These recommendations may sound conservative, especially if you feel like you can run today. But you don’t want to risk missing your marathon… or worse getting a full blown stress fracture during the marathon.

  40. zappoman Says:

    As for your high arches… my doctor and my physical therapist both believe that my slightly high arches contributed to my stress fractures.

    They prescribed me orthotics to help reduce the impact on my heel and more evenly distribute my weight across my foot.

    So, yes, this could be part of your issue.

    I strongly encourage you to go find a good knee/foot/ankle doctor.

  41. Derbyrunner Says:

    I am in my third week of recovery from a stress fracture in my heel. I was training for my third mini-marathon when it happened. I am on a crutches – and they are quite a pain. At home, I “cheat” by walking on the tips of my toes – on my injured foot (hope I am not doing damage to another area of the foot though). It is the only way that I can stay somewhat sane.

    What freaks me out – is that on my bone scan, I could easily see the “black spot” where my stress fracture was located on my left foot. However, my right (uninjured) foot showed a lot of “black spots” all over. I wasn’t given any clear answers of what this may be – but was told I should get a bone destiny test after I heal and that my gait should be analyzed. However, I am concerned that I am doing more damage to it because I have to put most of the weight on that foot for 8 weeks straight! I am in my late thirties and have never had a broken bone.

  42. zappoman Says:


    I don’t have any experience with bone scans, and I’m not a doctor, just a patient, so please take that into consideration as I give you my laypersons opinion.

    It doesn’t seem to me that you should worry about “cheating”… When I was recovering I cheated like you did, and still healed pretty quickly. The key is to rest rest rest rest.

    As for your bone scans, as I understand it, bone scans show “healing” spots not injured spots, so keep that in mind. Also as I understand it, when we run we create lots of factures in our bones all the time. These are normal and expected, but the idea is that we don’t want them to become too big. So I guess I would assume that these other spots you are seeing are the other mini-fractures that are expected to occur from basic running stress. If your doctor didn’t seem concerned, then I wouldn’t be concerned about it.

    As for your gait being analyzed, I think this is a good thing. Your injury could have been caused by issues in your gait caused by foot shape, tight muscles, etc. Having gait analysis is the first step to taking corrective measures of inserts, etc. So, this is a good thing to go through.

    Good luck.

  43. DanO Says:

    I fractured my heel bone(Calcaneus) last July 06 by jumping of a roof. I broke it into 3 parts and had surgury. It has been 8 months and the pain on the outside of my foot drives me crazy and it is still swollen. The doctor says it looks fine. I was taking 10-14 anti-inflammatory pills a day, Now nothing. Does anybody have these issues and what exercises or treatment worked for you. The doctor keeps telling me it will take time.

  44. zappoman Says:

    Wow, Dan! Sounds like a bummer. I am sorry to hear about your injury.

    I suspect the doctor is right that this kind of injury just takes time. I feel I was pretty lucky to be able to get back to running after only 2 months, but my injury was far less severe.

    If you’re not happy with the care you’re getting from your doctor you can always ask to get a new doctor.

    Good luck!

  45. Jenna C Says:

    I also was diagnosed with a tibea stress fracture on 4/24/2007. I am in the boot cast and have to wear it for 4 weeks. I have a week and 5 more days with this boot. I still feel occasional pain, but it is much better than before. Can I start running right after the boot cast comes off or should I just start off by walking. Thanks!!!

  46. zappoman Says:

    As I’ve said before on this thread… I am not a health care professional, so consider the source… but with that in mind here is my opinion on this.

    1) If you have any pain, I wouldn’t run, or walk (long distances).

    2) Instead I would look for other activities to keep your fitness level where you want it to be… in fact, I’d ask my doctor if you can do things like “light spinning” on a bike or swimming or water running now.

    3) My doctor really wanted me to take 8 weeks off… he said that is more typical, I went back to him after 5 weeks and said “I’m healed!” he didn’t believe me. He made me do a bunch of stunts like jumping up and down on one foot (the injured one) to prove I had no more pain. He was convinced and said it was amazing that I recovered so quickly.

    When I came back, I started really slow. I only ran on a tread mill, and I didn’t do more than 3 miles per session and always took at least 2 days off between runs for the first month or so.

    Just make sure you don’t push your self too hard to come back.

  47. Emily Says:

    I am not a runner, but a fellow stress fracture sufferer. I have 2 calcaneous stress fractures in my right heel. Glad to find this blog with other people’s experiences!

    I’m a retail manager, and on my feet a lot, but nothing out of the ordinary that would give a reason for my stress fractures. I had heel pain for months before they were finally able to diagnose it through an MRI. By that point, I had already been in a walking boot for about 4 weeks, had “healed” and was pain free, was back to walking normally… but that only lasted 2 weeks until the pain came back full force. So, an MRI was ordered, and 2 stress fractures found. At that point I went on STD at work and was non weight bearing… and have been for the past 11 weeks. My pain level is about the same as it has always been, and no one seems to know why I am not healing. Blood work has been done, and a bone desnity test ordered for next week.

    I’ve been using a bone growth stimulator for 10 hours daily for 3 weeks now, and am at the point where it’s either come back to work, or lose my job. My 12 weeks of FMLA job protection will be up in a week and that’s when my doctor has released me to go back to work, in a walking cast.

    I am really concerned that by going back to a walking cast, and at a job where I am very active and on my feet most of the time, I will be doing further harm to my foot. But why is it taking so long to heal? No one really knows, and it is frustrating!

    I will say that during my 11 weeks non weight bearing I have cheated and walked on my toes sometimes, and used the walking boot to walk down the 2 flights of stairs of my apartment building in order to pick up packaged at the office. I’ve been really worried that I’ve caused it to not heal… but it doesn’t seem like that would be enough to really make this go on for THIS long.

    Anyway, just wanted to share my story. It’s been nice to read the comments here. So sorry for anyone who has to go through this!

  48. DanO Says:

    I sure hope it works out for you Emily. Lately with my pain I have been buying anything that looks like it will work. I ordered some therapy socks and a night brace that will stretch while you sleep both items I found on a site for Plantar Fasciitis
    So far It seems like it is helping a little!!

    Dorsal Night Splint for Plantar Fasciitis – #861

    $49.95 / One splint.

    Heel Pain Products


    Heel Pain Products

  49. Emily Says:

    Thanks, DanO. I finally got some lab results back and it turns out I have a severe Vitamin D deficiency, something I never would have considered (but can have a huge effects on calcium absorption). Hopefully this is the answer to my lengthy healing process.

    I went through a long period of time wearing my walking boot to sleep at night, and if anything it seemed to cause me more pain! Ever since I started using the bone growth stim, I no longer wear the boot at night (as that’s when I wear the stim).

  50. Krista Says:

    I was diagnosed with bilateral calcaneal stess fractures about 7 weeks ago. I am a nurse and my doctor has told me due to the odd shape of my foot or bone structure and the way I tend to walk (she said i walk on the insides of my feet) over time has caused this. It still doesn’t sit well with me considering I’m not an athlete nor have had an injury. I was non-weight bearing for six weeks and i gotta tell you being in a wheelchair can be very depressing. Since both of my heels had fractures crutches weren’t an option. I have transitioned now to full weight bearing and still wearing both boots. I have also started physical therapy and had begun having some soreness from the exercises so I’m still taking it slow. I had orthotics made and will start wearing tennis shoes to work instead of clogs. Oh and taking caltrate with vit D has helped the healing process too. I did see a doctor regarding low bone density being the cause (I’m 28 so i didn’t think i was a risk but you never know. He told me that he has never see stress fractures in the heels due to osteoporosis. It is more common in the hips and spine. I underwent and MRI initially when diagnosed with the fractures b/c and x-ray didn’t show them. The doc didn’t think a bone density test would show anything b/c having low bone density was very unlikely. So i guess i just have to live with the answer to all this being “dumb luck” anyone heard of nurses having bilateral calcaneal stress fractures? Remember i am not a doctor so if you think you have low bone density it is always best to consult your doctor. I wish you all a speedy recovery!

  51. zappoman Says:


    You story is an interesting one. And like Emily’s above, I am hearing about more examples of stress fractures in non-athletes.

    I actually suspect that my injury is more like your and Emily’s injuries even though I am an athlete, and I started this blog with the assumption that my injury was related to training and being a runner.

    The more I learn about my feet, the more I have learned that the internal structures of your body can have a significant impact on these types of issues.

    For example, I was feeling really great about my orthotics, feeling like they’ve given me the needed “correction” to my foot dynamics to prevent future injury… 5 months later, my foot is hurting in a new way… I self-diagnosed Plantar Fasciitis. When I went back to my physical therapist who designed the orthotic she noticed a small detail that had been missed when the orthotic was first designed… and this small detail was over correcting one foot by about .5mm more than was needed… the result… a NEW injury.

    So the moral of the story is that small things add up over time. Listen to your body… seek advice… and don’t ignore pain.

    Good luck in your recovery.

  52. Krista Says:

    thanks for sharing your story regarding orthotics. So sorry that it resulted in a new injury-wow, how horrible! I get my orthotics tomorrow from my doctor so i will make sure we discuss the possibility of over correction. I’m trying to keep positive but am concerned that re-injury is a possbility. I was pain free until I started weight bearing and physical therapy. I sure hope i haven’t overdone it. Being in a wheelchair for 6 weeks and then getting a little freedom with crutches makes you want to make up for lost time -yard work, housework, etc……

  53. zappoman Says:

    Well, the other thing I’ve learned is that there is a fine line between caution and paranoia. πŸ˜‰

    I probably worry a little too much about re-injury… and for me that means that I probably don’t do some training activities that I could do that would make me stronger faster better… But I don’t beat myself up too much because afterall I’m still new to triathlon and actually I came to the party pretty late (didn’t become fitness minded until I was 34 years old)…

    Don’t let the fear of re-injury change your life. You gotta live life to the fullest.

    I suspect that once you’ve got some new orthotics, you’ll start to feel much better (after the initial adjustment period)… You might be able to wear those “cool shoes” you used to love… but you’ll find other cool shoes… and you’re feet will feel so much better.

    Good Luck!

  54. Krista Says:

    thanks zappoman for your words on encouragement. I think you’re right, paranoia is very time consuming and I just gotta keep moving forward…..

  55. michelle Says:

    I was diaganosed 9 months ago with a tibia stress fracture and ankle tendinitis. My lower leg has recently started hurting me and I was wondering if anybody else has had a stress fracture recur. This time my leg aches all the time, except when I get up in the morning.

  56. Emily Says:

    Well, my mystery now deepens! My bone density test showed osteopenia. I am 31 years old and have none of the risk factors that would explain thinning bones. The only thing that makes sense to me is my vitamin D deficiency (which in itself is somewhat of a mystery).

    I’ve been back at work full time (very active, on my feet job) for almost a month now, and still have pain, but thanks to supportive shoes and orthotics it is pretty mild while being active. At home at night though, it still aches and I am wondering if this will ever heal (and hoping I am not causing further damage by walking on it).

    Best wishes to everyone here!

  57. Kendall Says:

    Thank you for providing this forum to discuss stress fractures! It’s great to hear from other people about their experiences. Good information and encouragement, too.

    My story is interesting, and a bit different from previous posts. In May, I had surgery to excise a bony protrusion on the back of my heel (Haglunds dysfunction). Well, the surgery was successful and I was well into physical therapy about 6 weeks later.

    I followed the directions of my doctor and the therapist about conservative therapy. Nonetheless, I developed some serious pain in heel. I’ve never felt that type of bone pain in my foot. The doctor used the “pinch test” to determine the stress fracture (though it didn’t show up on the initial x-ray…which I’ve heard is fairly common).

    He said it could take anywhere from 2-8 weeks to heal. I’m into week 3 and am not weight-bearing yet. I am biking, stretching, and doing the theraband to maintain flexibility, which is particularly important after the surgical procedure.

    My orthopaedic surgeon said that I probably developed the stress fracture due to two reasons:

    1. therapy was going too hard, too fast for my body.

    2. after surgery (excision of a bone spur in my case), the surrounding bones can be even more sensitive because of the “controlled trauma” (the cutting of the bone) to the region.

    The doctor didn’t order an MRI because he said the treatment would be the same (whether or not it revealed anything [the x ray did not]. To be safe, however, I think I’m going to push for an MRI just the same.

    One helpful hint: apparently getting a little sun exposure will help the body absorb calcium/vitamin d and help recovery.

    Question for folks: My doctor said that a boot probably wouldn’t be necessary. He wants me completely non-weight bearing until the bone heals. Then, he claims, I can move into padded, orthotic sneakers. Has anyone else gotten this advice? Or should I press him for the boot?

    Good luck and God bless.

  58. Jennifer Says:

    Hi all! In August it will be one year since I sustained a calcaneus fracture. Got it from eating pavement in high heels. (Made a heck of the beginning of my school year–I’m a teacher.) They x-rayed my foot and found nothing. Treated me for a sprain. After two months, I still had severe swelling. I went back-they did another x-ray, same story. Finally, went to a sports med. doctor. He ran an MRI and diagnosed the calcaneus fracture.

    As a religious runner, I was seriously bummed. By February, the swelling was gone, and I was allowed biking or eliptical. In May, I was cleared to run.

    I don’t have any pain, but I have had to spend a great deal of time slowly building up to it. While I don’t ache, my foot feels tight. I take a day off after I have run, and I run at a slower pace.

    Thanks for the blog! Nice to read how others are handling the experience.

  59. Megan Says:

    Hey Zappoman, I was reading your blog and see you have had both a calcaneus stress fracture and Plantar Fasciitis. I was diagnosed with Plantar Fascitis, however, the sleeping boot is not helping, pain is still brutal, and the pain on the sides of my heel are accute. However, I have much more walking pain in the morning, or after sitting for more than 15 mins (more PF)… can you describe the difference of the pain between the two, since you’ve had them both?? Because my PF treatment is not working, my ped suspects it might be a stress fracture – am getting x-rays on Monday.

  60. ZappoMan Says:


    Thanks for your comment…

    By the way, you should go to my new blog at http://zappoman.konamoxt.com to stay in touch with the latest. I tend to not update this blog at wordpress anymore.


    To answer your question…

    As I understand it, most people don’t experience PF in their heel. PF tends to be more acute in the bottom and arch of your foot.

    It is also VERY common for PF to be more painful after prolonged periods of inactivity… like sleep or sitting for long periods of time. So these symptoms you are describing certainly sound like PF.

    With the Calcaneus Stress Fracture, I would have NO PAIN at all when I wasn’t placing weight on my heel. So if I sat down and took weight off my foot there was no pain. In fact I got my most recent stress fracture at mile 23 of a marathon, and was able to complete the marathon by “walking” the last 3.2 miles so long as I didn’t place any weight on my heel. I basically tipped toed to the finish line.

    I was first aware of my PF pain in my heel. At first I didn’t think it was PF… in fact I didn’t even suspect PF. Instead I assumed it was a reoccurrence of my Stress Fracture. But the pain wasn’t exactly in the same place. No, the Stress fracture pain was more in the back of my heel and near the bottom of the heel pad. But the PF pain was (for me) near the front, inside edge of the heel pad. Picture the very back (heel side) corner of the arch of the foot.

    My friend, a doctor, who worked his way through college as a technician in an podiatrists office diagnosed me with a mild case of PF and suggested I return to my physical therapist to have my orthotics checked.

    My PF was never so bad that I had pain in the morning when I first stepped out of bed. I think my case was very mild, and I was only aware of it because I had become ultra paranoid after my stress fracture.

    I hope this helps.

    Good luck in your recovery.

  61. Katie Says:


    This blog is old so I don’t know if you will read this, but I too am a nurse who was diagnosed with B/L calcaneal stress fractures! I just started LOA at work and am in a CAM boot. I am not even through week 1 and I am already going CRAZY!!

    How have you made out? Are you injury/pain free? How long did it take for you to be able to work pain free?

  62. Brittany Says:

    so i completely know how you feel! i’m a sophmore in high school and i’ve now got my 4th and 5th stress fracture (one in both legs) i run XC for the school and i started getting these my 8th grade year playing basketball. i’ve been to a different doctor each time and i’m begining to get very frustrated that nothing is helping…the keep comming back! i really enjoy running but it’s so painful to run anymore. i’m not sure if your done with yours or not but i’d like to know what they told you to do about them! thanks

  63. Jan Says:

    X-rays showed nothing and the doctor said I should wear a sock.
    It’s been over a year and a half since I jumped sideways to miss an ice puddle while running. The bone scan last week showed a stress fracture in my heal and the doctor put me on crutches and in a boot for three weeks (no swimming, cycling, or weight bearing). Running was painfull for the first half mile since the mis-step, but didn’t want to give up running. (Yayaya…not too smart, just expected it to get better). After such a long time, I have to wonder how the healing will progress now that I’m off the foot!! Everything I have read talks about six weeks to heal. Will three weeks in a boot and transition to swimming for the winter be good enough?

  64. beverly Says:

    I am also a runner 15-20 weekly,however fell 2 feet off patio.It hurts like hell.Pulled ligaments away from bone and fractured calcaneus.What type of therapy has helped other runners of this misfortune?

  65. Laurie Says:

    I’m 9 weeks away from my first Boston Marathon and I think I have a calcaneal stress fracture. Needless to say, I’m BUMMED! Training was going great until two weeks ago. I ran an easy 12 miles and the following day couldn’t jog a step without the outside of my heel hurting. I waited a few days and tried it again. Then waited 6 days and tried it again. I have an MRI scheduled today, so I’ll know soon, but in the meantime I’m hoping to get input on what others think.

    If it is a stress fracture, will totally staying off it for a while speed up the recovery? (I’ll bike and swim to stay in shape) Obviously, my goal of a PR at Boston is out the door, but will I be able to run it at all? Is there enought time to heal?

    Of course, I’ll listen to my doctor but I’m curious what others may feel as well.


  66. Karen Says:

    hi Laurie- I am very curious how you made out with your MRI. I was diagnosised with three in my left heel about 2 weeks ago. My orthopedist gave me crutches and told me to stay off it best i can for 6-8 weeks. I have a 3 year old son. Bet you can guess how easy it is stay off it completely. I am wondering if i should ask him for a walking boot, as its not getting any better. In fact, by the end of the day, it really hurts.

    did your doctor give you a boot, or a cast? Crutches?


  67. Rob Says:

    I recently got myself back into a regular running schedule. I am 24, and have never had any serious injury due to running. I started running regularly when I was around 12 y/o and continuing running competitively until age 18. During college I exercised mainly hit or miss during the years. About two months ago I started ramping up my running schedule to 6-7 days a week, but only about 5-6 miles a day. (Nothing crazy like you crazy marathoners!) Mainly just getting back into 5k shape.

    I was just starting to hit my old training mile pace when I started feeling some pain in the outside of my left heel, and also noticed some slight swelling. I began the regiment of icing and ibuprofen immediately and continued running while researching what the cause might be as the pain persisted. I was still able to run the same mileage and pace as long as I loaded up on ibuprofen before I ran, but it was getting more painful as time went on.

    Now I have set up an appointment with an orthopedist for next Friday in order get a diagnosis. I have completely stopped running, but am still using a stationary bike. Should I be halting any and all exercise for the time being?

    It seems the majority of information that I’ve found points to a stress fracture. Any similar experiences with the combination of pain and swelling?

    Thanks a ton!

  68. brandy Says:

    I on on week 5 of a stress fracture in my foot. I have been in a walking boot for this whole time. I went back to the ortho and he cleared me to take it off and start back low impact activity. I frequently “feel ” the spot but i wouldnt consider it actual pain. I want to start back some power walking bc I dont have access to a gym right now. Is speed walking (not running) going to set me back?

  69. Lester Says:

    Hmmm, how do I explain my neck calcaneus stress fracture accompanied by 2nd & 3rd metatarsal ligament strain. It’s almost been a year since I injured my left foot. Due to life circumstances I couldn’t go on medical leave from my job & have my foot in a boot. My old position consisted of me walking around the hospital for 75% of my work. Thank god I just got promoted 2 months ago, and just today I saw my doctor & got a boot for my foot. He said to wear it for 4 weeks & we’ll evaluate it if it’s healing. So hopefully after a year of enduring this injury I can get it to heal the right way.

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