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Stress fractures: A runner’s guide

By on Jun 28, 2014

An overuse running injury dreaded by many runners is the stress fracture. This is where a small crack in a bone develops, as a result of repeated stress over time, and most commonly on your foot or tibia.

But how do you know if you have the injury and what can you do to prevent it?

Stress fractures 101

As Dr Jordan Metzel discusses in today’s featured video, courtesy of Runner’s World, the worst thing you can do with such an injury is failing to pay attention to it. Attempting to run through the injury will simply make matters worse, though staying fit through other forms of exercise is encouraged.

Stress fracture diagnosis

The first step is diagnosis. How do you know you have suffered a stress fracture? Dr Metzl notes the four key questions you need to ask:

  • Are aches and pains changing my running form?
  • Is there point tenderness, one specific place that is sore to the touch?
  • Is my foot swollen?
  • Do I fail the hop test, with pain when I land?

If the answer’s yes, then this may well be a stress fracture and obtaining individual expert assessment as soon as possible should be a priority.

Stress fracture prevention

Finally, Dr Metzl takes a quick look at how to prevent the injury. You should only increase your mileage gradually. You may need to shorten your stride and quicken your cadence. And if low bone density is an issue for you, then that too shouldn’t be ignored.

You can explore further videos in the Ask The Expert series by clicking here.

Source: Image by PetroleumJelliffe

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