The initial treatment for a stress fracture is to elevate the extremity and rest while the bone heals itself. Ice the affected area for 24 to 48 hours and reduce activity. For pain, painkillers such as ibuprofen (an NSAID – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) may be recommended. Depending on which bone is involved, your doctor may recommend a splint or cast to immobilise the affected area.
When the swelling has decreased to the point you can see skin creases, you can begin partially putting weight on the area. In some cases, crutches or a walking stick is necessary. Usually you can begin full weight bearing two weeks after the symptoms started. Weight bearing stimulates healing.
For the next six to eight weeks, or until you’re free of pain, avoid the activity that caused the stress fracture. If you exercise again too soon, you could delay the healing process. You could even cause damage that may never heal properly.
When you are ready to return to the activity, do it slowly. If you rush back in, you could injure yourself again.
Very severe stress fractures that won’t heal on their own may require surgery. Full recovery may take months or years.