Information for Consumers - Stress Fracture (Suspected)

This article tells you about suspected stress fracture, including what imaging tests you may need to have.

What is a stress fracture?

Stress fractures are tiny cracks in your bones, caused by overuse of muscles in the body. When muscles are overused they become tired and cannot take the shock from repeated impacts like running and jumping. The stress from this then causes the tiny cracks in the bones.


If your doctor thinks you may have a stress fracture, he/she will request plain x-rays of the painful area. If the x-rays are positive your doctor will start treatment. If the x-rays are negative, your doctor may request a

  • Nuclear medicine bone scan
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan
  • Or a repeat plain x-rays after about 1 month

This will help the doctor to decide what is causing your pain and what type of treatment you need.


A radiology doctor will look at your scans and write a report for your doctor.

Further information

For more detailed information, please access InsideRadiology at:

This is a resource produced especially for consumers by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists:

A guide to gathering information that you may need for making informed decisions is published by the Consumers' Health Council of Australia at:

If you would like to look at other relevant articles, please access the following:

Or access the Diagnostic Imaging Pathways website at:

Or if you have questions or require any other information please contact your Doctor.

Consumer participation

This information has been reviewed by representatives from the following groups:

  • Aboriginal people
  • People with disabilities
  • Seniors
  • CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse)
  • The Health Consumers' Council


All feedback, comments and suggestions regarding consumer information at Diagnostic Imaging Pathways are welcome. Please click on Contact Us


This article is intended as general information only. The Diagnostic Imaging Pathways team and Radiology Across Borders will not accept any liability arising from its use. The information is kept as up-to-date and accurate as possible. Please be warned that it is always subject to change.


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Date reviewed: July 2017

Date of next review: July 2019