Injury Update: Those two words.

As a runner, there are two words you dread most when you go into your doctor’s office in pain: STRESS FRACTURE. It turns out 50% of stress fractures don’t appear on x-rays so when I had x-rays done the first time I felt pain in my foot and I was diagnosed with strained ligaments, I wasn’t exactly out of the clear.

I had made an appointment with my family physician soon after the visit to emerg, in hopes that when my appointment arrive I was healed up, but just needed confirmation that I had a good recovery training plan in place. Turns out I was still in a lot of pain when I visited his office 10 days after the initial onset of pain and after he asked me some questions about what I had been doing at the time of injury, what I had been doing for training up until that point, what the injured area felt like since, and then physically examined my foot, my doctor told me he was positive I had a stress fracture.

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Can I just add MD to my title already, I wasย 100% rightย when I put this photo in a post last week that showed where I thought my injury was. My 4th metatarsal on my right foot has a stress fracture. Stress fracture healing time > ligament strain healing time. If it seems like it’s been a while since I have run, it has, because apparently cracked bones don’t heal on demand like I want them to.

boness

My doctor told me to stay off of it as much as I could and that we were looking at a 6-week healing time. When he asked what I was doing when I started feeling pain I told him I was running on the treadmill. He asked how long I had been running and I said just over an hour. He looked at me in disbelief and I quickly told him I was training for a marathon. He said, “Not anymore.”

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The Calgary Marathon is super up in the air right now, though with my race registration I have the option to drop down to a shorter race distance which is most likely what I will be doing! It is really hard to stay off of my foot because getting ANYWHERE requires me to use my footโ€ฆ imagine that. ๐Ÿ˜‰ More cycling and swimming and resting for this girl while I let my bones heal!

feet up

Healing a stress fracture includes:

  • Resting.
  • Elevating.
  • Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements to speed up my bone healing (okay, probably a placebo effect but I’m still going to list this one).
  • Wear supportive and cushioned footwear (aka. not flip-flops).

That’s about all I can do, which is frustrating. As soon as I can walk with no pain, I can start to think about running. As soon as I can run without pain I can slowly add miles back into my life. Key word: slowly. Now you know as much as I do about my fractured bone and why I haven’t been able to dive back into training yet! Thanks for all of the support and comments it really means a lot!

Have you ever experienced a stress fracture?

What supplements do you take daily? Does your nutrition change during injury?

26 Comments

  1. Hey:) I found your blog through a friend. I fell down my basement stairs dec 26 breaking my 5th metatarsal. I was on crutches for 4 weeks and in a air boot for a total of 8. It was horrible. I’m stressed about my spring marathon and how I could make it happen. I missed running so much. After 10 weeks I was given the clear to slowly start running. I started a half marathon program to gradually build up my millage. It was rough coming back the bone was healed but joints and ligaments/ muscles that had not been used had to remember to run again. I’m 8 weeks running again and will run my first post injury half in 30 days. I’m even faster then I was before! My advice stay active in the gym as much as u can! You will come back stronger!!!

  2. I had a stress fracture last year at around this time. I remember doing some 200m repeats way too fast and my leg hurt after. It wasn’t fully diagnosed until July after I finally got a bone scan. I stopped running in June and started again in mid-July. I had the bonescan around then and it said it was healing. It was fine afterwards.

  3. Glad you finally have a diagnosis and a plan of attack for healing. I had a fracture in a bone in my foot years ago and it didn’t show on the original x ray either. Too common, this error in diagnosis. Wishing you a comfortable and complete recovery.

  4. BOO, I’m so sorry to hear about your stress fx, lovey. Sending healing (mountain) vibes your way.
    I know all too well how frustrating injuries are. I had to take several months off last year after fracturing my pelvis. I walked with a limp for 2 months!

    My best advice is to enjoy your time off and focus on other activities that make you happy. Don’t be a dick like me and try to get back at it too fast (as I’ve done in the past).

    1. Thanks Jo ๐Ÿ™‚ I am getting the mountain vibes loud and clearโ€ฆ making me want to go to the mountains!!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Really sorry to hear that Kris.
    If you do switch races in Calgary, I know someone pretty cool running the 5km ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Oh no! I recently got injured and my doctor swore I had a stress fracture but the MRI luckily said no. He prescribed me Vitamin D as well! Here in Alaska it’s a giant problem and I definitely had a deficiency so I say keep taking them. I hope things start healing and you feel better soon!

  7. I know this won’t be what you want to hear but I had a stress fracture in my left foot last summer. It happened May 24 and I took my first 10 minute run July 19th. Two x-rays didn’t show anything and finally an ultrasound picked it up. I didn’t wear a boot and in retrospect the doctor probably should have given me one (or crutches) since I have to walk a couple km a day just to get to/from work.

    I wasn’t allowed to run or ride/spin, and had to be very careful with swimming – not pushing off the wall like you have adjusted as well. It put a huge damper on my half ironman goal but I took my time coming back into it and no longer take it easy ‘just in case’

    Just keep positive and move any way you can that doesn’t hurt. You’re already a few weeks into recovery now ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you so much Meredith, I am leaning towards swimming and strength training (arms) as my workouts, as well as toned down cycling because I get paid to teach it! I hope you are super healed and I am so impressed with your recovery. Thanks again ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. I’ve had a pelvic stress fracture and had 7 months off of running – 6 weeks is a dream! You can do this. Stay smart with your recovery and you’ll be back in no time. Don’t rush it. Trying to run on it too early will set your recovery back by a few weeks at least. Just keep eating healthy-wholesome foods! You need to make sure you take in enough calories – bones need it to heal. Calcium, Vitamin D supplement and also magnesium. Cheering for you – stay strong. Injuries make us stronger and teach us a lot about training properly. You will come back stronger for it. I did and mine may have been a bit more trickier ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Yeah a pelvic fracture might be slightly more intensive ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for all of the information Jen I really appreciate it!

  9. Ah no! That is the most dreaded diagnosis. But seriously take the time off and heal properly. I know its disappointing but one missed race isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Take care of yourself!

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