Stress Fracture

My soccer team had their first night game tonight. Aidan got in some bleacher running while the team was warming up.

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The boys played so well. Usually it takes a little while before you see meaningful improvement in their skills. This season I feel like they are just getting it. I am amazed at how well they are playing as a team after such a short time. They must have been super fast because all of my pictures look like this. 😉

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It was Lee’s turn to bring snack tonight and you won’t believe what she made! The most incredible rice crispy treat pumpkins you have ever seen. I checked out her facebook page after I saw these and it turns out she is a pro at making treats. I wish I could show you everything she has made!  The boys loved them, of course. Thanks Lee!

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Here is the bad news. My annoying injury is actually a stress fracture. I can’t even tell you how sad I am about this. 4 – 6 weeks of no running and no soccer for me (I can still coach, but I can’t kick a ball). I haven’t taken even one week off of running since my Achilles injury last November! I know there are way worse things that can happen, but this is a big deal for me. Plus, my races…  I need this shirt now.

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I am pretty sure I know how this happened. I tried to squeeze a 13 or 14 week training plan for the 18 mile race into 11 weeks. Not smart. Sometimes we just think we can do anything, even when it’s a bad idea. I am not good at taking time off. I was going to go for a “little run” today to see if there was any way I could race on Sunday. It just was not possible. I actually can not run right now. :(

According to the Mayo Clinic, stress fractures are tiny cracks in a bone caused by the repetitive application of force, often by overuse. Mine is in my lower tibia. This picture shows the most common stress fractures suffered by distance runners. These are considered “low risk” stress fractures because they usually heal on their own without surgery or a cast and a month or two away from running. There are also “high risk” stress fractures that require significantly more time away from running, such as femur, pelvis and hip stress fractures.

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Symptoms of a stress fracture may include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Tenderness over a certain spot
  • Increased pain with activity
  • Continued pain even while at rest

I have now been told that the best way to prevent stress fractures is to follow the rule of increasing your mileage by no more than 10% a week. I guess that is a good rule to follow. It is also helpful to cross train. Building strength can help reduce the risk of many injuries. So for now I am going to focus on cross training – something I am notoriously bad about doing.

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I am going to try to stay positive and see this as an opportunity to become a better runner. I am going to try to develop better training habits and focus more on good nutrition.

Here are two really good articles on the causes and symptoms of stress fractures and how to prevent them.

So, I am wondering, do you cross train or stick to one favorite activity?

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