Do you remember the game show Press Your Luck? Contestants would get the run of a big board filled with prizes, but among them would also be Whammies. Hitting a Whammy would mean losing all you had accumulated to that point and starting over once your turn came around again. A stress fracture can be like a Whammy to your workout progress, but one that can be easy to avoid with the right decisions.
Your risk of these fractures doesn’t correlate exactly to the amount of weight you put on your feet and ankles (although that is a factor). It’s more a matter of going beyond what you have been conditioned to bear in intensity and time. Those who have properly trained can run a marathon with little risk, but set a Sunday walker out on that course and he or she is much more likely to develop cracks in their bones.
Ramping up your workout regimen too quickly, especially for repetitive motions such as running, dancing, and tennis, is asking for trouble. Patience is key in conditioning your body to take on more of a workload, and a 10% increase in intensity per week is a general rule of thumb for planning. If you want to keep moving even more, look toward cross-training. Mix up your workouts and work different parts of your body.
Apart from intensity, also make sure you have the right shoes for your activities and that they’re not worn out. Shoes that don’t properly support your feet can redistribute forces unevenly, and the overloaded part of your foot or ankle is more likely to crack under pressure. And, of course, all those milk commercials were right: get enough calcium and other minerals in your diet for stronger bones!
If you’re feeling pain during or after physical activity, it’s not something to ignore. Dr. Sanjay Patel and the staff of Family Foot Care & Surgery will diagnose the problem and recommend the best steps for speedy recovery and prevention. Call us at (203) 288-4055 for our Hamden office or (203) 876-7736 for our Milford office.