Keys To Treating Stress Fractures In The Endurance Athlete

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John Mozena, DPM

   Endurance athletes have the advantage of Wolff’s law of mechanical stress. The more pressure that goes through a bone, the more the forces will align the bone resistance to any fracture force by strengthening its cortices. Muscle strengthening also helps stabilize the bone to resist fractures as well.

   Endurance athletes represent a unique subset of athletes due to their high volume of training and racing. There are many advantages to their extreme training but there are also some physiological disadvantages. By understanding the risk factors of training, endurance athletes can hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls of their sport, including stress fractures.

   Dr. Mozena is in private practice at the Town Center Foot Clinic in Portland, Ore. He is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, and is board certified in foot and ankle surgery. Dr. Mozena is an Associate Clinical Professor at the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif. He has completed six Ironman triathlons, 14 half-Ironman triathlons and over 20 marathons, including the Boston Marathon.


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   For further reading, see “Treatment Tips For Common Triathlon Injuries” in the October 2002 issue of Podiatry Today.

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Tom Schwabsays: June 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Stress fractures can also arise in recreational runners, especially over a long weekend with nice weather. Speaking from experience, I was one of five runners who presented to a single office a few summers ago after a long 4th of July weekend with lot of daylight and cool temperatures. We all forgot the rule not to increase distance by more than 10% a week. After five days of continuous long runs, our first marathon training was derailed.

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