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stress fracture
CREATED: 01/30/11 by txh8674 REPLIES: 12
txh8674    JOINED: 12/18/10    POSTS: 6
stress fracture
POSTED: 1/30/11 9:45 PM

Hi all,
After dealing with shin splints for a while in my left leg, I've recently developed a stress fracture. :( I saw Steve at Sports & Spinal about a month ago and he recommended not running for a couple weeks and doing some strengthening exercises to improve the stability in my legs. Although I've been following his advice, my leg is still not completely healed. I'm going back to see him this week for a follow-up. In the meantime, I'm wondering how I should proceed with the NTP training plan. i would consider myself a pretty avid exerciser and this month I've been swimming three times a week, spinning twice and weight training twice a week. Since the plan for February only involves running and swimming, do you think I should just increase my swimming workouts to four times a week? I think I should tone down the spinning classes too, because they seem to be aggravating my leg as well. I've heard a little bit about pool running--is that a good option? I'm not exactly sure how to go about it and don't want to look like a fool, haha.

I'd appreciate any advice. I really want to take part in all of the NTP program and this injury has me kind of frustrated. Thanks!
Terry Ann

lizard151    JOINED: 5/8/09    POSTS: 17
RE: stress fracture
POSTED: 1/30/11 10:15 PM

Hey Terry Ann,

I'm so sorry to hear about your injury. I can't run either right now, but I highly recommend pool running. A bunch of my friends have had a lot of success with it. You just strap on a flotation belt and hop into the deep end of a pool and move your legs like you're running. You'll move a little bit. I count one minute of pool running to one minute of regular running. I've known elite runners who came out of the pool and went on to run elite times in big races, so it works. You will, however, look kind of like a fool, no matter what. If Washington and Lee is convenient for you, send me a message, and I can put you in touch with some friends who go there. I do it at the downtown Y on Thursdays, if you're a member there. Good luck!
Liz

txh8674    JOINED: 12/18/10    POSTS: 6
RE: stress fracture
POSTED: 1/31/11 8:19 AM

Hi Liz,
Thanks for your advice. I think I will try pool running this week. I've been swimming at the Eastern Market pool since I live on Capitol Hill. I look forward to meeting you this weekend!
Terry Ann

kev7's ravatar kev7    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 463
RE: stress fracture
POSTED: 1/31/11 8:29 AM

The off time for a stress fracture is typically 6 to 8 weeks. Then you should be able to slowly start running again, slowly building up time & distance over the next 6 to 8 weeks. This is a great article on returning from a stress fracture:
http://pfitzinger.com/labreports/stressfracture.shtml

I've had a stress fracture and it took me 6 months to really run competitively again. Pool running and the elliptic machine are good alternatives to maintain some fitness.

JessO's ravatar JessO    JOINED: 6/16/09    POSTS: 66
RE: stress fracture
POSTED: 1/31/11 9:12 AM

agreed! pool running is a great way to maintain your cardiovascular fitness. I've had some stress fracture battles of my own, so I can sympathize! there've been some interesting studies showing that VO2, lactate threshold, and even race times can be maintained in athletes w/ pool running (4-6wks), but the trick is really intensity & interval work.

maybe start with 1.5 min hard, followed by 30s recovery (2 sets of 5 intervals is a good workout…you end up w/ 15min total at high intensity). obviously, you can play around w/ the times [2.5 min hard, 30s recovery; 5min on, 60s recovery]…you get the idea! running continuously still has benefit, but it's hard to keep your HR up in the H2O, and mentally--it's a little draining.

a word to the wise…ease back in to it! I got impatient & had a long set back. I hate to say it, but 2 wks off is a pretty short recovery time for a stress fracture. 4-8 wks is more typical. Once you do start running again, it's a good idea to still incorporate 1 day/week in the water & follow the 10% rule w/ your mileage at first. Feel free to e-mail me & best of luck! -Jessica

JGunder's ravatar JGunder    JOINED: 8/31/09    POSTS: 15
RE: stress fracture
POSTED: 1/31/11 11:15 AM

I have had several stress fractures, and 'not running for a couple weeks' is definitely not long enough. For each of my stress fractures I have spent 4 weeks in a walking boot, and then a couple weeks increasing my walking distances without the boot, followed by slowly building back into running.

The most important thing to remember is that if you are doing an activity that hurts, you are (1) preventing your injury from healing, or (2) making it worse. Don't do anything that hurts. If swimming is fine, then up your swimming. It will help you to build your endurance, and that will translate to other activities. If cycling hurts, then stop.

Aqua Jogging is great - - http://www.trifuel.com/training/workouts/aqua-jogging - - should get you started (with a stress fracture, you should find deep enough water that you aren't touching the bottom... And if you aren't touching the bottom, then don't worry about the shoes he describes).

Good luck!

RAFTRI's ravatar RAFTRI    JOINED: 12/22/10    POSTS: 27
RE: stress fracture
POSTED: 1/31/11 1:30 PM

This is my first post on the forum but I feel I would like to add my thoughts on your problem.
I had stress fractures several years ago and I was told not to run for 6-8 weeks and then only run on grassed areas when I gradually started training again. The most important thing is to try and find out what caused your stress fracture? There is no point in waiting for the fracture to heal and then going straight back to what you were doing before causing the injury to reoccur.
I had a biometric assesment and made sure that I had the correct shoes and correct orthotics for my style of running. Both can make a difference!

mcbkrun's ravatar mcbkrun    JOINED: 6/17/09    POSTS: 32
RE: stress fracture
POSTED: 1/31/11 8:02 PM

Rest, rest, and then rest that leg some more... probably for 8 weeks. I had the same thing last March after the National Marathon and it took until early July to feel no pain. I did a lot of swimming and started working on the guns. I felt every time I went to my spinning class that I was making it worse so I would stay away from that. I did run at the pool and that helped out. Once you start running, go for an easy mile or two and then call it a day.

mcbkrun's ravatar mcbkrun    JOINED: 6/17/09    POSTS: 32
RE: stress fracture
POSTED: 1/31/11 8:07 PM

Rest, rest, and then rest that leg some more... probably for 8 weeks. I had the same thing last March after the National Marathon and it took until early July to feel no pain. I did a lot of swimming and started working on the guns. I felt every time I went to my spinning class that I was making it worse so I would stay away from that. I did run at the pool and that helped out. Once you start running, go for an easy mile or two and then call it a day.

novasupra's ravatar novasupra    JOINED: 12/3/09    POSTS: 70
RE: stress fracture
POSTED: 1/31/11 8:45 PM

the pfitzinger site mentioned above is a good one, that site has a good nine-week deep water running program that I used and it really helped maintain my fitness when I had a SF and couldn't run.

http://pfitzinger.com/labreports/water.shtml

make sure you take ample time off, I couldn't run for almost 10 weeks and you need to really take your time building back up the mileage. Many SF's are caused by increasing your mileage too quickly, since running is an impact sport, you need to build up your muscles, bones, ligaments, etc to take the pounding.

txh8674    JOINED: 12/18/10    POSTS: 6
RE: stress fracture
POSTED: 2/06/11 12:44 PM

Thanks to everyone for their advice. I saw an orthopedist on Friday and he recommended wearing a walking boot for 2 weeks to help my leg heal. So for now, I think I'm going to focus on swimming (as long as it's not painful) and upper body lifting. After 2 weeks or so, I think I'll give pool running a try.

ajm27's ravatar ajm27    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 129
RE: stress fracture
POSTED: 2/06/11 2:54 PM

I echo what everyone else has said...pool running is a great exercise and if done correctly, can be as effective as outdoor running. Also, do NOT do anything that aggrevates the symptoms (i.e. spinning, if that is the case). It won't heal.

AJ

siehndel's ravatar siehndel    JOINED: 11/25/05    POSTS: 1068
RE: stress fracture
POSTED: 2/06/11 3:25 PM

Hi Terry Ann,

When you get to pool running in a couple of weeks, you'll look like an elite athlete compared to most of the people I see trying it at EMP. In other words, don't worry about looking foolish.

Happy healing and take care of that injury now and you'll be fine for the training later on.

-Travis

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