When archeologists tap away dirt from a dinosaur bone, they must do so very carefully so as not to damage the bone. After all, too much stress placed upon it could make it crack. Our own bones are vulnerable in the same way.
Stress fractures are tiny cracks that develop in bones over time when too much stress is placed upon them. Runners are frequent victims since the continuous pounding they put their bodies through can eventually take its toll. The repetitive stress on feet and legs can outpace the body’s ability to naturally rebuild bone. With no time to recover, bones weaken and become more susceptible to stress fractures. However, if you keep these preventative steps in mind you can stop the cracks before they start!
Wear the right shoes. Always make sure your shoes fit well and are appropriate for your activity. They should offer plenty of support and cushion, too -- if they’re worn out, replace them!
Choose the right surface. Running on asphalt, cement, or other hard surfaces can increase your risk of stress fractures, as can switching from one surface to another without a gradual transition. Choose your path wisely! If your sport entails playing on a hard surface, like a basketball court, for instance, be sure to take breaks regularly (and wear good shoes).
Train the right way. Don’t increase the intensity of your workout or suddenly jump from 3 miles to 10! It’s essential that you build upon your training program gradually – by no more than 10% per week. Also, it’s a good idea to cross-train, incorporating lower impact exercises into your routine that give your bones the time they need to rest and repair. Try swimming, yoga, rowing, or cycling.
Eat the right foods. A diet rich in Calcium and Vitamin D is important to keep bones healthy and strong. Make sure you are getting your recommended daily amounts, and that the rest of your diet is nutritious and healthy, as well. Remember, excessive weight puts added stress on the bones that have to carry it! Eating right will help you manage your weight and lessen the load.
Following these guidelines will help you to prevent stress fractures and keep your bone health at its best. If you notice increasing pain, swelling, and tenderness originating from a specific spot, call us for an appointment. We will determine if you have a stress fracture and treat it before it gets worse! Contact us in Cedar Park or Round Rock, TX by dialing (512) 593-2949.