May is National Osteoporosis Month, dedicated to raising awareness about bone health and how to prevent injuries like fractures in weakened bones. This is particularly important for active people, who need strong bones to participate in their sports. However, breaks don’t just develop in bones weakened by conditions like osteoporosis. In fact, small cracks like stress fractures develop in otherwise perfectly healthy bones. Runners are especially prone to this problem. Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent stress fractures so you can stay active.
Stress fractures are common injuries, even in totally healthy runners. You don’t need to have a bone weakening disease to develop them. Typically you get them when your feet aren’t absorbing shock or hard impacts the way they are supposed to. The resulting overuse or biomechanical injuries strain your foot structures and exhaust your muscles, so instead of handling the shock, it gets absorbed by the supporting bones in your lower limbs. Changes in training or poorly-fitted shoes contribute to feet becoming overworked, too. Eventually, the bones just break down.
This process is preventable, though, especially if you’re fit. You don’t have to resign yourself to living with stress fractures if you like to run. To prevent stress fractures, you just have to help support and condition your lower limbs. The first step is to wear shoes that fit and appropriately support your feet. Make sure the tread isn’t too worn down and that your shoe stabilizes your arch correctly.
You also need to condition your feet and ankles to handle the hard impacts of sports, particularly running. This means making any changes to your routine slowly and building up your endurance and tolerance for it over time. Cross-training with low-impact activities can help as well. That way you strengthen your muscles different ways while taking short breaks from damaging, hard impacts.
Bones are tough, but even healthy ones can be susceptible to stress fractures. The key to staying active and avoiding bone breakdown is to be proactive about preventing stress fracture damage. Let our team at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona help. Just use the online form, call, or fax either of our two offices: call (480) 963-9000 and fax (480) 963-0375 for our Chandler office, or call (480) 981-1800 and fax (480) 981-0229 for our Gilbert location.
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