Stress Fracture Prevention Tips for Runners
Stress fractures are small, hairline breaks in bone. They usually occur from putting too much stress on a weakened bone. Your lifestyle or habits may cause stress to develop in bones at a pace that’s too fast for your body to repair. When this happens, you can cause a stress fracture.
Stress fractures can be very painful, and can take weeks to heal, depending on the location and extent of the damage. If you have a stress fracture, not only will you likely be unable to run while you heal, but your injury can interfere with your daily responsibilities and other activities that you enjoy.
While runners are at high risk of stress fractures, there are some simple things that you can do to minimize your risk. Visit an ankle specialist in Conroe, TX, for more advice that’s specific to your medical history and lifestyle.
Here are some general tips for runners to prevent stress fractures.
Gradually Change Your Routine
If you’re a frequent runner, your body is used to a specific workout frequency, intensity, and duration. Frequency refers to how often you run. Intensity refers to how quickly you run, the distance you cover, and how difficult the ground you run on may be–for instance, running on hilly ground outdoors is more intense than running on a track or treadmill. Duration refers to the length of each workout.
If you plan on changing anything about your workout, do so gradually to decrease your risk of a stress fracture. Add a few minutes at a time or a quarter mile at a time to build up to your goal. A good piece of advice from foot doctors is to increase your mileage by up to 10% per week. Also, be cautious if you change the type of surface on which you run.
Inspect Your Running Equipment
Make sure you’re using good-quality shoes with good support built in when you run. Only run in shoes designed specifically for running to prevent IT band injuries, shin splints, and other stress fractures.
Switch to new shoes once they start to feel loose, lose their tread, or lose their internal support. Foot specialists frequently see patients who are running on bad shoes, so they encourage runners to take note of the quality and appropriateness of their running equipment.
Run Like a Pro
If you’re going to make running part of your routine, then take it seriously. You can get seriously hurt if you don’t know what you’re doing. Run with good technique in order to prevent stress fractures. Whether you’re a recreational athlete or someone trying to get back in shape, you could use some spotting. Ask someone to check your running form for an unusual lean or awkward steps. For instance, if you run pigeon-toed, this can put stress on your ankles.
Also, follow a professional runner’s diet. Eat plenty of calcium and Vitamin D for bone health. Visit an ankle doctor to determine the recommended daily consumption for your age, gender, and size. You can also ask if supplements are a good idea to prevent stress fractures and other running-related injuries.
Finally, make sure you give your body enough rest, especially if a foot doctor has recommended you take some time off. Feel free to take breaks from running while on vacation to give your body time to regenerate weakened tissue. When you get back into running, do so gradually. Also, consider cross-training to develop different muscle groups and stay flexible.
Visit Ankle & Foot Specialists of Conroe, The Woodlands, for more advice on caring for your feet and ankles. You can find an ankle specialist in Conroe, TX, for an evaluation, individual advice, and recommendations that are right for your lifestyle.