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What Are the Symptoms of Stress Fractures in Ankles?

author image Rae Uddin
Rae Uddin has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2004. She specializes in scientific journalism and medical and technical writing. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Uddin earned her Master of Science in integrated biomedical sciences with an emphasis in molecular and cellular biochemistry from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
What Are the Symptoms of Stress Fractures in Ankles?
A stress fracture of the ankle can be painful. Photo Credit ANKLE FRACTURE image by Dr Cano from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

A stress fracture occurs when the bones in the ankle are subjected to repetitive force during certain physical activities such as dance or running, explains the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. When a patient sustains a stress fracture, small cracks develop within the ankle bones. Patients who develop any of the symptoms of a stress fracture in the ankle should seek additional care from a medical professional as soon as possible.


Ankle pain is the most common symptom associated with an ankle stress fracture. Sensations of pain typically arise gradually over time and may be more severe when weight is placed on the injured ankle, reports the Hospital for Special Surgery. Ankle pain caused by a stress fracture may subside during periods of rest but re-emerges during physical activities. Pain symptoms of ankle stress fractures are typically dull or mild. Without treatment, a stress fracture within the ankle may progress to a fully broken ankle in some patients.


Ankle bone damage caused by a stress fracture can also injure the surrounding muscles and tissues within the ankle. When this occurs, the injured muscles and tissues become inflamed and irritated. As a result, patients with a stress fracture in an ankle can experience ankle swelling as a symptom of this injury, explains the Merck Manual, an online medical encyclopedia for health care professionals. Swelling can cause the affected ankle to appear enlarged or puffy along the top or outside of the foot, reports the AAOS. This stress fracture symptom can make it difficult for a patient to move the affected ankle normally. Symptoms of swelling are typically temporary and will progressively subside as the injured ankle bones begin to heal.


Patients who experience a stress fracture of the ankle can develop skin discoloration, or bruising, around the injured ankle, explains HSS. Bruising occurs when blood pools beneath the surface of the skin. Initially, the affected skin region may appear red or purple in color. As the injured ankle begins to heal, bruised skin may appear blue, yellow or green. Bruised skin can also be tender or painful to the touch. Symptoms of bruising are temporary and skin will regain its normal coloring once damaged skin heals.

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