Stress Fractures – New Ways to Avoid Them

Involvement in sports and increased physical activity is great for the body. People get involved to achieve positive things, and those things are not only for the body. The results that can be expected from being physically active and sports minded go beyond the physical, as also the mind and the spirit of an individual is uplifted. It is easy to discern why. It improves the health, makes the body stronger, faster, fitter, and more flexible. Sports and different kinds of work outs are also excellent in helping people deal with stress, and in getting rid of the worries that it bring about. Different needs by different kinds of people are satisfied at the same time, which is another good reason why its popularity continues to rise.

I got myself involved in sports to achieve a couple of things. First, I wanted to be healthier and more fit, which I have been really wanting for so long, and so I grabbed the first opportunity that came along to have a regular work out program. The other reason that I had was to become more focused and motivated, and I thought that being involved in a particular work out or sport would help me do that. True enough, I got the results that I was expecting, and more. It has been very rewarding for me indeed, to say the least about my experience. The primary work out that I did, and still continue to do, is running. I supplement it with some pick up basketball, hiking, and I also hit the weight every once in a while.

Sports Injuries – Dealing with Inevitability

Early on in my involvement with physical work outs and exercises, I was already aware that sports and athletic injuries are very common. Some are serious, others are not so. However, I chose not to overly concern myself with the thought of some of those injuries possibly happening to me. But they do happen, and even some of the people that I know became victimized by various afflictions, with varying degrees of seriousness. That somehow forced me to take a look at the real situation and how other runners and fitness buffs like myself were dealing with their situation. In a way, every injury is a different situation altogether, because of the various circumstances that surround the specific injury. Possibly one of the most common sports and work out related injuries is stress fracture, and I have known quite a few runners who have suffered from it.

Stress Fracture – What it is and How It Can be Avoided

Stress Fractures being one of the most common occurring injuries, it is also one of the injuries that people are most familiar with. And you could certainly say that it does not discriminate, as it strikes down just about everyone from professional athletes to those who have just started running to have better fitness. Even a sports star as big and successful as Tiger Woods was not spared from suffering stress fractures, although he did still manage to emerge a winner during the times that he was suffering from stress fractures. Of course, professional athletes and newcomers to running and different sports need to deal with it alike, and they have no choice if they want to continue whatever it is that they were doing before having the injury.

Checking out the actual definition of stress fractures will reveal that it is a type of incomplete fracture in bones. The usual cause of stress fractures is the unusual or the repeated stress that is applied on the ankle or leg, or it could also be the heavy and continuous weight that is applied to the said leg or ankle. A stress fracture is in complete departure from other types of fractures, which are usually solitary and severe when it comes to its impact. A more accurate description of it is its being a very tiny crack in the bone. This has given stress fracture its other name, which is hairline fracture. Its occurrence can usually be seen in the so-called weight-bearing bones, such as the bones of the foot – the metatarsals, and the bone of the lower leg – known as the tibia.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The usual and most recognizable symptom of stress fracture is the intense pain that comes with weight bearing upon the area concerned. The person suffering from it usually feels it whenever he walks, but it is much more pronounced when he attempts to run or jump. Aside from that general feeling of pain, stress fractures present very few other symptoms. When a person with stress fracture runs, the injury will cause the runner to feel severe pain at the very start of his run. By the middle of the run, he will experience a lessening of the pain, but by the end of the run and then after it, severe pain will once again be felt by the runner. Some bruising and darkening might be noticed at the affected area of the injury.

As far as the diagnosis of stress fractures goes, it is best diagnosed right after the person with the injury is interviewed and examined thoroughly by a physician. Only then could a correct diagnosis of a stress fracture could be made, although further investigations are no longer necessary for properly ascertaining the extent of the injury. For clearly seeing evidence of stress fracture, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), or Computerized Axial Tomography (CT) Scan, would be useful especially since X-Rays do not seem to show any evidence of stress fractures.

Prevention of Stress Fractures

Being a runner, I cannot help but be aware and a little concerned about stress fractures. Even as I am not too concerned about it, I cannot totally ignore it either, as that would be a mistake that I might regret later on. When it comes to finding ways to prevent stress fracture, it really boils down to strengthening the bones in order to take all the stress and punishment that is heaped on it. One way to do this is through applying moderate stress to the bone in a controlled way until the bone becomes strong enough to resist stress fracture. A runner like myself could do this more easily by gradually increasing the distance that we run each and every week. The ideal increase would be about 10 percent for each week.

Stronger muscles will also play a key role in helping in the prevention of stress fracture. By strengthening the muscles, they will not be tired as quickly and will be able to absorb the stress of running for longer periods of time a whole lot better. The shin and calves muscles are the important muscles that need to be strengthened in order for lower leg muscles to help in the prevention of stress fracture. As a runner, I know only too well that runners usually suffer from repetitive stress injuries, of which stress fracture is one. And it is important to also note that undiagnosed and then untreated stress fractures could possibly lead to complete fractures, which would be more problematic for the affected individual. Runners will find that the chances of suffering from stress fracture by simply altering or changing their strides, and having some variety with the running surfaces that they run on. By doing so, they will be able to enjoy all the benefits of their sport and exercise of choice, without any worries.