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The response to the question below was authored by Marc Mitnick DPM

Stress Fracture not healing?

by Mary
(South Carolina)

Hi. I have had a "stress fracture" for over 6 weeks. I first started feeling pain about 7 weeks ago. It went completely away for a week then came back. The first doctor I saw did xrays. They said the xray showed a stress fracture. The ortho doctor I saw next said the xray showed nothing. I had a bone scan. It showed a high uptake in the top of my foot. The ortho doctor then diagnosed a stress fracture of the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal. I was put in a post surgery shoe and given anti inflamatory medicine. The problem is I still have unbearable pain, even after staying off my feet. I also have severe sweeling in ALL my toes on that foot. A few days ago my two middle toes turned blue. Now they turn black when I stand on them. My entire leg is red also, a completely different color than the other. I have called the doctors office twice to tell them about this. I dont have an appointment for two more weeks. They dont seem concerned but I am. I am starting to wonder if it is really a fracture at all. The radiologist report reccommended a MRI but the doctor scoffed at the recommendation. Should I try to see someone else? I am so tired of not being able to walk. The doctor told me it would take 4 weeks to heal. I am close to doubling that. Please help!

Hi Mary,
I do not know much about you or your medical history but generally a non-displaced stress fracture should heal in 4-6 weeks. If the bone scan showed an uptake at the level of the fracture then I would go with a diagnosis of fracture. What I find puzzling is the fact that the fracture was barely visible on x-ray so that tells me is what probably just a small fracture and theoretically should be healed.
The fact that your foot and leg seems to be worsening also concerns me; it should also concern your doctor.
Do not be intimidated by your doctor; they are not flawless and in some cases are quite clueless. Demand to either speak to him or her directly or have one of the staff members relay your concerns to the doctor.
If you get no satisfaction then I would recommend you see another doctor.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Oct 22, 2015
unhealing broken foot
by: Anonymous

I broke my foot 4 months ago, but every time they tell me I'm ok, I take the boot off and my foot breaks again. Finally had an MRI, which showed I had 5 broken bones, even though xray only showed 2. But the Dr. doesn't have an explanation for why I haven't healed yet. Wants me to see a specialist in vitamin difficulties, hormone problems etc. But I can't afford that and all the testing they want to do. Is there anything I can do myself, to help the healing process. After 4'months and now per my Dr. another month or two in this boot. I'm ready to try anything. I'm a dancer and this is interfering with my income, social life and work outs. Please help!

Testing is the only way you are going to know if there are any deficiencies. If you are a smoker, that has to stop.

You should be checked for anemia as that can delay fracture healing.

If you are a women, having your estrogen levels checked would also be helpful.

Ask your doctor about a bone stimulator. This is a device, as the name implies, helps bone fractures to heal. Most insurance companies will cover them.

Lastly, since you have multiple stress fractures in small area, there may be a problem with the way your foot functions. An orthotic may go a long way in removing the stress from that part of your foot and prevent further fractures.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Oct 04, 2011
Stress Fracture
by: Anonymous

I was diagnosed with 2 stress fractures in my left foot 7 months ago. i was put in a grey boot cast for 6 week. When it came off my foot kept hurting so they put me back in it. I had to grt special inserts and shoes which i wore when the boot came off. A month after the boot was the foot started hurting again and the Dr. Diagnosed a stress frature again he put the boot back on and after 3 weeks i was on my foot and the fracture split again so i was put in a black boot the pain was still bad so now i am in a hard cast. I had a bone density test and it was good. is there anything else that keeps causing these breaks?

Jul 08, 2011
Burning and Healing
by: Lorrie

I have a Stress fracture now going on 5 weeks, and my swelling comes and goes, today I experienced the most unbearable burning sensation imaginable. is this a normal part of the healing process, or something to be concerned about? I've already had two x-rays and really prefer not to have anymore, but it doesn't seem to be healing quite as quickly as I thought or my Dr.thought. Any thoughts??

Aug 18, 2010
stress fracture
by: Anonymous

I also was diagnosed with a stress fracture. I am very frustrated and in a lot of pain. I started feeling alot burning sensation in my foot in january i went to the hospital to the emergency room. They did an extra to make sure no bones was broken the doctor sad he did not see anything in extras to follow up with orthopedic doctor and i did . The doctor told me to do physical therapy in february i did that about 2 months and foot worsened . In April doctor decided it would be best to do a MRI the test came back positive for a stress fracture doctor gave me crutches and said stay off foot. went back to doctors every 4 weeks to check foot. I am entering into the 8th month of this horrible pain. I also would like to be able to walk on my foot. I have never experienced so much long lasting pain. So i know how someone else knows how frustrating this can be.

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