A stress fracture in fact is a type of fracture.  Think of it as a hairline crack that may or may not be detected as easily as a complete fracture, or complete breakage of the bone.  A complete fracture can be detected on X Ray by the naked eye,  however a stress fracture may be so slight that it may not be picked up by X Ray film.  In fact, it may take 10 days or more for the fracture to show on X Ray films, and what you see is actually the bone's reaction to repairing that fracture.  Sometimes advanced modalities such as an MRI is needed for diagnosis.  Most importantly, if you suspect a fracture or have any discomfort or pain, make an appointment with our doctors at Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic for a thorough exam and treatment plan.