Underweight Women Runners Take Longer To Heal From Stress Fractures

Are you an underweight woman runner? A new study out of Ohio State University found that underweight women runners are at higher risk for stress fractures.

Women with a BMI of 19 or lower were at higher risk than those runners with a higher BMI. Also this was the first study to show that it takes longer to heal from a stress fracture for those with a BMI of 19 or less.

Although it's been known for a long time that stress fractures are more common in low weight women athletes (particularly teens), it's great to have more evidence so that women can make better health decisions.

The researchers thought that the reason for the higher risk in low weight runners is that the lack of soft tissue sends the shock of the constant pounding back into the bone. They agreed that more muscle mass was needed.

This idea of more muscle mass is echoed by Barbara Drinkwater, Ph.D who has studied bone health in master athletes. Many runners are often under the misconception that running provides enough weight bearing exercise to prevent stress fractures. Although much of her research has been on older women who have gone through menopause, her advice of weightlifting to build more muscle mass could extend to low weight women as well based on this study.

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