Metatarsal Stress Fractures

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Metatarsal stress fractures are also called “march fractures” or “marcher's foot.” They most commonly occur in the distal second and third metatarsals. The second and third metatarsals receive the majority of stress during ambulation and are less mobile compared with the other metatarsals. The predominant risk factor is excessive overuse with repetitive motions with little recovery time such as marching activities in the military. Any element that has a detrimental effect on bone density can predispose an individual to stress fractures. There is often a delay of 2 or more weeks from the onset of symptoms until visible fractures are able to be seen on radiographs. Initial treatment strategies involve rest, ice, nonweight bearing, and avoidance of exercise to prevent fracture displacement, nonunion, and other complications. Orthopedic referral will guide definitive care.

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