Injury Recovery Log wk1: Calcaneus Stress Fracture

me calcaneus stress fracture

The doctor will be calling you shortly [about your MRI results].

Me: “Oh $hIt, that can’t be good”

And it wasn’t. About 30 minutes later, my doctor called. You have a Calcaneus Stress Fracture.

…A what? A fracture in my heel? How is that even possible? You could have told me I had 12 ripped tendons and I would be less surprised, but MRIs don’t lie.

I sat there, shocked, surprised, and just utterly confused. The week before, I told people I was getting an MRI for my foot; many said: “well at least it’s not broken.” I don’t ever rule out a broken anything, because my gait loads a lot of force on my feet.

When I had my second metatarsal stress fracture, my foot was swollen and bruised like a balloon, and I was in so much pain to even think about walking. The second it happened: I knew.

So when doctors asked: are you in pain when you walk? I said no…which is the truth. I have never dreamed of a calcaneus stress fracture because I don’t land on my heels. In fact, I don’t use my heels. I walk and run “too far” on my toes.

I’m sad to have a broken bone, but I am more confused about how I got an overuse injury on something I barely use.

When talking to someone who also had a calcaneus stress fracture, she mentioned that sometimes calcaneus stress fracture are known to come from overloaded Achilles tendon which creates a small fracture of the calcaneus. That’s really the only explanation I have of how I might have gotten a calcaneus stress fracture.

All of last week, I knew something felt wrong in my foot. That’s why even before the MRI results on Friday, I didn’t run.

For the last month, I’ve dealt with feeling achy and then better and then the pain came back and worse after my 4 Mile Race. It’s easy to look back and see that the fact that my pain came sharp and fast was a sign; this was a severe injury. I had mentally prepared for something torn, not a broken bone. Plantar Fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis don’t come out of nowhere.

Truthfully I know nothing about torn muscles and how to recover, but I’m no stranger to stress fractures. I had too many fractures occur in my early 20s in my feet from improper training. My feet take the load with my running and it’s the injury I’m most susceptible too. But I haven’t had one since in 4 years.

Typing it out, it sounds silly but I’ve worked hard to recognize any questionable pain and I almost always air on the side of caution. I don’t really care about missing a day or week of running if it means I don’t miss months. But somehow I am here and missing at least 4-6 weeks.

What is my tentative calcaneus stress fracture healing timeline?

Boot around 3-4 weeks (I can swim or bike…no long walks or hiking…and no hiking is maybe the saddest part for me)

Then reevaluate, make sure my calcaneus stress fracture is healing appropriately and go into a supportive shoe.

I’m once again at an injury crossroads:

There are some injuries I want nothing but to rest. I don’t want to see running; I don’t to be around running; I don’t want to be around blogs, Instagram, anything. That’s ok. You can’t control how you feel.

There are some injuries I want to cross-train the hell out of myself to I come back to running, my best version, yet.

This injury is a combination of both.  No one wants a broken bone, but I’m not devastated either. I haven’t had a substantial amount of time off in a while, and coincidently (or not), I haven’t PRed (or even run that well)

My goal is not to swim to come back: “my best running self yet,” I just want to swim. Like really swim. Maybe I want to reidentify as a swimmer right now, a hat I haven’t worn since 2011-2012.

So for now, I’m putting my energy into swimming. I can swim. I enjoy swimming, so why not.  I feel lucky I can do some physical activity and don’t need a follow up to a foot and ankle surgeon for surgery.

I like that I can stick my face in the pool and be disconnected. I stare at the bottom of a lane and I’m just lost in my own thoughts. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a swim race to sign up for. As far as injuries go, I’m sad to have a broken foot and miss a few races, but I think subconsciously, I knew at some point I needed complete time off from running. My mindset is a lot better than some injuries I’ve had.

Posts from the Week:

New Balance Hierro v5 Shoe Review

Form Goggles Review

Questions for you:

Have you had a calcaneus stress fracture? 



  1. Hey Hollie! I’ve never had a calcaneal stress fracture, (knock on wood), but have had plenty of other stress fractures and injuries. I too, tend to sustain injuries in my feet I think just due to my gait, etc. That is great you are putting energy into swimming…I’ve been enjoying other forms of cross training too. Any form of movement is GOOD! Hope you heal quickly.

    1. Thank you LeAnne and I really appreciate it. Any stress injury stinks! Glad you’re enjoying cross training.

  2. I had a calcaneal stress fracture last year. I actually had it for over 6 months and kept running on it because I just thought it was really bad plantar fasciitis. Which I did actually have as well, so my theory is that the fracture occurred from repetitive stress of the plantar fascia pulling on the bone (which is where the fracture was, right at that attachment). So if you don’t actually heel strike, it’s probably from that or the Achilles like you said. I was non-weight bearing x 5 weeks, then a boot x 3 weeks. It took me probably 3 more weeks to be pain free walking and a good 2 months to work through a running progression and be completely pain free. Good luck!

    1. Oh wow, thank you for sharing. I’m wondering if it was similar when my Achilles. Interesting. Did you feel pain when walking Lo?

      1. Yep there was always some amount of low level pain with walking, but tolerable. Definitely worse if I wasn’t wearing sneakers.

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