UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Orthopedics

Title: Calcaneal stress fractures

Keywords: Heel pain, bone injury (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/24/2015 by Brian Corwell, MD
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Overuse injury

Seen in runners, military recruits (marching), ballet dancers and in jumping sports (heavy landing).

Insidious onset of heel pain, that is worse with jumping then running then later with simple weight bearing.

Tenderness to palpation posteriorly (medially or laterally), and squeezing bilateral posterior calcaneus.


XR: May not be positive for 2 to 4 weeks. Sclerotic appearance (vertically oriented) posterior calcaneus.

MRI: high signal T2 at fracture site.

DDx: plantar fasciitis.

Treatment: Reduction of activity if Sxs mild, for severe pain start a trial of non weight-bearing (boot or splint with crutches).

Stretching of calf, achilles, plantar fascia.