Recovering from Stress Fractures: What You Need to Know

Dr. Corey Fox
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Director of Massapequa Podiatry Associates

Person with crutchesLiving in a community like Long Island presents an array of options for many activities, including joining a running club. No matter if you connect with the Massapequa Road Runners or the Greater Long Island Running Club, you are likely to meet some folks who have experience recovering from stress fractures. These are fairly common sports injuries. Knowing what to do when they happen, though, will get you back to your favorite activities in the shortest amount of time!

Once you recognize the symptoms of a stress fracture—swelling, tenderness, bruising, and pain that increases with activity and decreases during periods of rest—your first step is to schedule an appointment with our office. We have the tools to provide the accurate diagnosis you need. Until you come in to see us, follow the RICE protocol:

  • Rest. Take time away from all high-impact activities (running, jumping, etc.). If you want to stay active, consider low-impact ones like swimming, cycling, and yoga.
  • Ice. An icing regimen both relieves pain and reduces inflammation in the injured area.
  • Compression. Using a bandage to compress the affected bone will further reduce inflammation.
  • Elevation. During periods of rest, keep the injured limb elevated above heart level. Prop it up on a pillow and relax while reading a good book or catching up on your favorite shows!

A stress fracture can sideline a runner for months if not handled properly. There are five phases of successful stress fracture recovery for runners:

  1. Injury Period. In spite of the name, this doesn’t refer to the time you sustain the injury. Instead, this begins at time of diagnosis from our office. We will create a treatment plan to keep weight off the affected area. Be sure to avoid any activity that causes pain. Depending on your case, you may need a walking boot or crutches.
  2. Recovery. Once the pain is gone, you need to continue your recovery with flexibility and strengthening therapy. These activities will not be particularly intense.
  3. Build Phase. At this point, you will start and gradually increase your running volume, while keeping a focus on technique and core exercises.
  4. Normal Race Prep. Once you have comfortably (and slowly!) increased training, you can begin to focus on fitness level and race goals.
  5. Race. By following our advice and carefully progressing through these phases, you will be ready once the starting gun fires on race day!

For additional information on recovering from stress fractures, or to receive first-class foot and ankle care, contact Massapequa Podiatry Associates. Either call our Long Island office at (516) 541-9000 or connect with us online today!

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