Many people are stepping into the new year with goals to be more active and fit! As we all should! However for many of us who don't usually work out much, a sudden increase in activity can stress out your feet. Literally! Stress fractures or stress reactions can occur in bones of your feet that take the most impact with activity, usually the "ball of the foot" which is made up of the metatarsals. The metatarsals are the long bones in your feet that connect to your toes. Stress fractures occur from overuse and continued repeated activity, usually a new activity. Many times the stress fracture doesn't appear on radiographs for weeks so it can be a diagnosis based on clinical findings such as swelling and pain to an area along a specific metatarsal. Many times it can be treated conservatively in an immobilizing walking boot or shoe. To try to avoid stress fractures make sure you are changing up your work out routine and not doing the exact same work out every day. For example I have had patients that say they just started working out a month ago and always do the elliptical on the same intensity and same incline every day. That is an example of how you can have repeated stress in the same area of your foot which may lead to a stress fracture. So change up the routine and do the elliptical 3-4x a week with varying inclines and resistances and add in other forms of cardio and strength training the other days. This way you avoid a stress reaction and can get an overall more balanced work out. And as always make sure you're in good fitting supportive shoes and inserts, ideally custom inserts that we can provide at our offices for you. Good luck and here's to a healthier you in the new year!