Dillon Brooks who plays basketball for the Oregon Ducks and led his team in scoring last year is sporting a big black boot instead of working out this summer. He's been sidelined to prevent a minor injury from turning into a stress fracture.
You might wonder how these tiny cracks in the bone can turn out to be a game changer for a college or pro-athlete or even for an active person like yourself. Stress fractures may not sound like such a big deal, but that's not the case.
Stress fractures aren't like other fractures. They don't come on suddenly like an ankle fracture, but come on slowly. Symptoms can include pain, swelling, and redness. Some of these symptoms may seem to be better on some days than others; but don't let that fool you. Stress fractures need to be taken care of, pronto.
The following risk factors can increase your chance for getting a stress fracture.
Rapid Increase in Physical Activity
Stress fractures most commonly occur from a rapid increase in physical activity and the repetitive strain on bones. It's not only pro-athletes that tend to overdo it, but beginners who are enthusiastic to start a new sport. Bones need time to heal in between activities and when they don't get that opportunity, stress fractures are likely to occur.
Decreased Bone Density
Osteoporosis is most commonly associated with older adults, but female athletes in particular are at increased risk of decreased bone density if they train too hard and too often. Training intensity can create hormonal changes such as decreased or no menstrual period leading to premature osteoporosis.
Wonky Foot Mechanics
Men and women with flat feet or other foot problems can end up placing more pressure on one area of their foot which prevents the bone from healing adequately. Fortunately poor foot mechanics can be treated through use of inserts and orthotics.
Worn Out or Unsupportive Shoes
Shoes should be replaced every year or every 500 miles. When you turn over an old pair of shoes you'll notice wear patterns that are unique to you. Those wear patterns show exactly where you place your foot pressure. New supportive shoes will help keep your feet and body in alignment and decrease the chance of stress fractures occurring.
Changes in Playing or Running Surface
Going from trail running to running around Greenlake or moving from playing tennis on an indoor surface to an outdoor surface can put you at risk for stress fractures.
Follow these recommendations to lower your risk for stress fractures:
Getting enough Vitamin D and eating a diet rich in calcium will give your body what it needs to keep your bones strong. Vitamin D levels that are too low will prevent your bones from absorbing calcium an essential ingredient for bone development.
Start training slowly particularly if you are more sedentary during the winter months.
Add strength training to your workout regimen to build strong bones.
Change up your activities by alternating between ones that are high impact like running to low impact like swimming.Stop when it hurts. Foot or ankle pain are never normal. Get yourself to a Seattle podiatrist
Are you a runner with heel pain? Learn about stopping heel pain by downloading a copy of our eBook "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".
Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.
Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.