How To Avoid And Treat Stress Fractures
When muscles are worn out and unable to withstand additional shock, a stress fracture occurs. Small cracks or stress fractures develop in the bone as a result of the exhausted muscle transferring the stress there. Although the cumulative stress is less than what would cause a bone fracture, the damage will still be inflicted over time. At first, the discomfort can frequently be mistaken for either shin splints or a heel spur, but a stress fracture is more prevalent and more serious if left untreated.
Did you know that a bone constantly changes how it functions to handle the strain brought on by physical activity? However, stress fractures result from accelerated remodeling, which weakens the bone’s outer layer. Instead of increasing mileage or weight before the bone has a chance to rest and mend itself, it is crucial to progressively increase training intensity. You can prevent a stress fracture by taking basic safety precautions. Let’s look at those protective measures.
Wear The Right Shoes And Avoid Running On Hard Surfaces
To prevent a stress fracture, it’s crucial that you wear supportive running shoes. Ask for advice at your neighborhood running store if you’re not sure what kind of shoes are best for you.
Increased stress on the bones and muscles might result from exercising or running on a hard surface. For instance, a tennis player who shifts from a court with a soft surface to one with a hard surface increases their risk of breaking a bone. According to studies, jogging on a treadmill reduces the risk of stress fractures compared to running outdoors or on hard surfaces like concrete. Consider the strain on your bones when exercising outside, such as when running, and reduce the intensity.
Train Harder But Gradually
Don’t drastically alter your training frequency or intensity. Your bone really grows weaker after increasing intensity for about a month before becoming stronger. Therefore, you should gradually increase the intensity of your training or workouts to allow your bones to adjust to the new stress.
To build your muscles and prevent overtraining, aim for a load increase of no more than 10% per week.
The likelihood that military recruits may get a stress fracture within their first few weeks of service lends credence to this notion. A study looking at stress fracture rates involved recruits for the German Armed Forces between the years 1998 and 2000. Over 50% of the fractures in the study’s 204 cases took place within the first eight weeks of employment. In order for the soldiers to fully heal, they were excused from duty for an average of 26.5 days.
Improve Calf Flexibility
Calf tightness frequently leads to stress fractures because it prematurely lifts the heel while running and exerts a large amount of force on the forefoot. According to research in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, people with tight calves were 4.6 times more likely to suffer a stress fracture in their metatarsal bone.
This demonstrates the value of stretching to relax the muscles, especially the calves. It’s also the reason why it’s crucial to allow for enough muscle recovery to prevent your muscles from staying tense all the time.
Increase Intake Of Calcium And Vitamin D
Researchers at Creighton University Osteoporosis Research Center in Nebraska enlisted 5,201 female Navy volunteers and randomly assigned them to receive either 2,000 milligrams of calcium and 800 international units of vitamin D or a placebo. Researchers discovered that the calcium and vitamin D group had a 20% reduced incidence of stress fractures than the control group among the 309 participants who were ultimately diagnosed with one.
That means increasing the number of foods high in vitamin D and calcium can help strengthen bones and lower the chance of developing a stress fracture.
Stress Fracture Treatment
The best therapies are prevention and early intervention, but it can be challenging to predict injuries because athletes differ in terms of biomechanical propensity, training styles, and other elements including diet and flexibility.
Resting the injury, maintaining cardiovascular fitness, using physical therapy techniques, and using oral analgesics other than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, which can hinder the healing of the broken bone, are all part of the initial recovery phase.
About two weeks after the individual is pain-free when walking and cross-training, the second phase of stress fracture rehabilitation should start, with an emphasis on a gradual return to full-impact activities like running. Muscle endurance exercise, core and pelvic girdle stability, balance training, flexibility, and, if necessary, gait retraining should all be emphasized throughout rehabilitation. When a person can bear weight without experiencing pain, they can resume participating in sports.