Recovery Cross training Leg injuries

Tibial Stress Fractures in runners – The Injured Runner

Stress Fractures are a condition where training load has exceeded your body’s ability to maintain bone structure, resulting in partial to complete breakdown of the bone. The most common sites for a stress fracture in the shin are the top inner portion of the shinbone (medial tibial plateau) and the central portion of the shin. Firm pressure on the bone in these two regions is usually distinctly painful.

Tibial Stress Fractures in runners

Initially, you may be able to run without pain after you have warmed up; however, pain is often increased after the run. As the condition progresses the pain intensifies and will often leaves you limping. An X-ray will can be used to confirm the diagnosis after three weeks of symptoms (although this varies).

Whole food provided in the form of milk products with high potein, calcum and vitamin D is the best known nutritional guidance to prevent stress fracture and may speed recovery. Vitamin D (800iu per day) and Calcium (2g per day) intake has been shown to reduce the incidence of stress fractures in military cadets by 27% and should aid in quicker healing.

Tibial stress fractures in runners treatments:

  • Tibial Stress Fractures in runners requires aggressive rest. Plan on at least six weeks of not running. We know that’s tough but it’s essential for your recovery.
  • Cycling, swimming or deep water running are the best cross training options because of the decreased weight bearing. If you are limping when you walk, using crutches until the limp is gone will dramatically speed recovery.
  • In my experience with basic trainees, doing hamstring and adductor stretches will speed recovery for a stress fracture of the medial tibial plateau.
  • Anti-inflammatories may actually delay bone healing. Use ice to get rid of the pain and alter your training so that it is pain free.
  • Vibration has been shown to accelerate bone healing. You can try using a vibrational massager by placing the massager on the bone a couple of inches away from the sore spot and holding it for 2-4 minutes twice per day.