Stress fractures are not uncommon and may occur after simple walking without any apparent injury. Metatarsal stress fractures can occur at any age and often cause the foot to swell and hurt with any weight placed on it.
Patients often go to an emergency room and are told nothing is wrong as the initial x-rays are often negative, not showing evidence of the fracture. Prompt treatment is helpful to avoid metatarsal deformities. Follow-up x-rays a few weeks later will typically show the fracture.