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There are 26 bones in the foot that support our weight and allow us to walk and run. Certain activities or injuries can cause a fracture, or “break,” in one or more of these bones. Pain, swelling, redness, and even bruising are signs of a possible fracture. Fractures of the foot can be diagnosed by x-rays or other studies.


A foot fracture is caused by trauma to the bone such as:

  • Falls
  • Blows or object falling on the foot
  • Collisions
  • Severe twists

Also, when a bone is subjected to repeated stress over a long time, small cracks may form. These are called stress fractures, and certain bones (metatarsals and the talus) in the foot are at higher risk for this type of fracture.

Risk Factors:

These factors increase your chance of developing a foot fracture:

  • Advancing age
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Osteoporosis
  • Certain congenital bone conditions
  • Abnormal or absent menstrual cycles
  • Sudden change in activity or exercise program (i.e., becoming a military recruit)
  • High-impact or repetitive motion sports (i.e., gymnastics, basketball, tennis, running)


  • Pain, often severe
  • Bruising and swelling in the injured area
  • Numbness in toes or foot
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Inability to walk comfortably
  • A lump or visible deformity over the fracture site