Tuesday, March 25, 2014

You Can't Run Through a Stress Fracture!

Dr. Adam Thomas

Spring is finally here, and as more and more of you are considering outdoor running, you should familiarize yourself with the associated foot and ankle risks like stress fractures.

What is a Stress Fracture?

A stress fracture is a tiny crack on the surface of a bone or an incomplete fracture. When a muscle is overused, fatigued and no longer able to absorb the shock from impacts, it transfers stress to nearby bones, resulting in fractures.

What causes it?

If an individual is continuously striking their feet on surfaces, while either running or jumping, the risk of causing a stress fracture injury increases. Other causes include participating in athletic activities that increase physical stress, running on irregular surfaces, inappropriate footwear, and improper training.

Although stress fractures are caused by an abnormal force on a normal bone such as a young person running, they are also caused by a normal force on an abnormal bone, like an older person walking regularly. Oftentimes, stress fractures that occur from the latter are the result of bone density loss.

How does it relate to running?

Stress fractures, as a result of athletic activity, are fairly common and runners are especially susceptible to them. In many instances, the runner does not even know that an injury to the bone has occurred. If you feel pain that increases in severity, do
NOT try to “run through the pain.” Continued force on the injured bone can progress the fracture, cause more damage, and worsen the pain.

Where is it common?

A majority of all stress fractures occur in weight bearing bones such as the lower leg and the foot. More specifically, stress fractures can be found in the metatarsal bones of the foot, and they are most common in the 2nd metatarsal because it is the longest.

How do you treat it?

Treatment involves rest which means no more running… until healed. Treatment also includes anti-inflammatory medication and in some cases, a splint or crutches are necessary.

How do you prevent it?

You can lessen the risk of stress fractures by changing your athletic conditioning. Start slowly, gradually increase the intensity of workouts, and avoid doing too much too soon or applying too much force too early.

You should also ensure that you have the proper shoes for the activity- cleats, running shoes, basketball sneakers, etc. They all offer different ankle and arch support, with different gripping capabilities. Try eating foods with the minerals magnesium, calcium, and potassium or foods that have vitamins D and K to improve bone health. Some foods to try are broccoli, nuts, flax seeds, salmon, spinach, bananas, and dairy products.

If you have severe pain that is not going away and believe that you have sustained a stress fracture, please contact your local podiatrist.

Community Foot Specialists - Podiatrists/Foot & Ankle Surgeons Serving Dayton and Springfield, Ohio Call today to schedule your appointment! (937) 426-9500

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