A stress fracture is a small break or cracks in a bone. Caused by falls and overuse, such as long-distance running, the injuries often affect the feet and legs, since they carry the weight of the whole body. People most at risk are athletes and those with weakened bones. Few people notice stress fractures at first, but tenderness around the injury increases over time and often accompanies swelling. Although most small fractures heal with time and rest, some stress fractures fail to repair themselves and cause chronic pain. A doctor will confirm a stress fracture diagnosis by taking an x-ray of the bone.
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