Stress Fractures in Runners

It's track season. This is the time of year we see a lot of hidden stress fractures. The weather is getting nice and people will be out running and moving around a lot more. Runners sometimes have what we call "hard to diagnose" stress fractures. Typically stress fractures will not show up on an x ray especially if it's fairly acute. In the olds days they were called March Fractures since soldiers use to get them especially in boot camp.

Doctor Mason explains what a stress fracture is. A fracture stems from overuse. It's a accumulation of stress and the breakdown of bone is happening more rapidly than the bodies response to heal it. It's not a dramatic injuries which means it takes time to get the injury and chances are it'll take some time to heal correctly.

The classic signs of a stress fracture are in people who recently increased their activity level. Runners will be into their workouts, the season is just starting and then their foot gets a pain the starts to hurt... then it started to hurt all the time, denial sets in the runner tries to ignore the pain, then it really starts to hurt.

We see stress fractures in runners for long distance running because of the miles put in. More women than men come in with signs of a stress fracture. Don't wait too long since a stress fracture won't heal without treatment. We use MRI's that will diagnose stress fractures with great effectiveness. Treatment is you start by shutting down all activities and let the body heal itself. Sometimes surgical intervention is needed to screw the bone together for best mending.

A remarkable amount of people have vitamin deficiencies that lead to more bone breaks. Doctor Mason advises on supplements to reduce the chances for a stress fracture in the Northwest are vitamin D, calcium and vitamin K.

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