C is for Calcaneal stress fracture

July 20, 2022

A calcaneal stress fracture is the second most common stress fracture in the foot. It almost always tests positive to the calcaneal squeeze test.

Calcaneal stress fractures can be caused by repetitive stress or excessive force applied to the calcaneus (heel bone). The repetitive stress gradually weakens the bone, leading to a fracture. Some common causes and risk factors for calcaneal stress fractures include:

  1. Overuse or Increased Activity: Engaging in activities that involve repetitive impact on the feet, such as running, jumping, or dancing, without proper rest or conditioning can increase the risk of stress fractures in the calcaneus.
  2. Sudden Increase in Intensity or Frequency: A sudden increase in the intensity, duration, or frequency of physical activities can overload the bones and lead to stress fractures. This can happen when starting a new exercise program or rapidly advancing the intensity of training.
  3. Improper Footwear: Wearing shoes that do not provide adequate cushioning or support for the feet can contribute to excessive stress on the calcaneus, increasing the risk of stress fractures.
  4. Biomechanical Factors: Abnormal foot mechanics, such as high arches (pes cavus), flat feet (pes planus), or improper alignment of the feet and legs, can place excessive stress on the calcaneus and make it more susceptible to stress fractures.
  5. Poor Bone Health: Conditions that weaken the bones, such as osteoporosis or nutritional deficiencies (particularly in calcium and vitamin D), can make the bones more prone to stress fractures, including those in the calcaneus.
  6. Training Errors: Inadequate rest periods, improper training techniques, or ignoring early signs of foot pain can contribute to the development of stress fractures.
  7. Certain Sports or Activities: Certain sports and activities that involve repetitive impact or weight-bearing on the feet, such as distance running, basketball, gymnastics, or military training, have a higher risk of stress fractures, including those in the calcaneus.


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