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Coming back from a stress fracture - advice (Read 53 times)

speed_demon


    Hello all!

     

     

    I'm a new member here and I'm wondering if anyone can shed some light on their own experiences with coming back to running after a stress fracture.  I got one in my fibula in June last year and it was a pretty bad one - I was totally out of action and in a CAM boot for six weeks.  It took me a few months again after that before I was able to run again, and when I did it was very short distances and only twice a week.  Recently, I've been upping it and for the last week I've done around 6-7km every second day.  I occasionally get the slightest discomfort or 'odd' feeling in the site of the injury but it's not pain, and I'm pretty cautious about stopping as soon as anything hurts even vaguely in that area (even if it's not pain)

     

    But it's coming up to 8 months after the injury and I know that bone heals in a finite amount of time - so; I'm wondering what sort of schedule is sensible when getting back into running regularly?  I'm hoping to do a 16km in a month's time (not competitively), other than that I would like to get back into long distances for leisure.  Worth mentioning that I've had a past of anorexia and although I have been recovered for some time, I have to be honest that my previous relationship with running was not entirely healthy (even though I genuinely do love it) and I was probably not quite eating enough to fuel the amount I was doing for a lot of the time.

     

    So... has anyone else gone through similar?  What kind of rules/principles did you follow when coming back to running? Any advice/words of wisdom would be much appreciated Smile

    robin from maine


      Do you have an idea of what led to the stress fracture?

       

      With the anorexia history, have you had a bone density test?

      speed_demon


        Do you have an idea of what led to the stress fracture?

         

        With the anorexia history, have you had a bone density test?

         

        I don't think it was anything specific other than the classic "female athlete triad" which had been going on for too long... yeah I got a DEXA scan and am borderline osteopaenic in my lumbar spine... not ideal particularly since I'm only 24.  I'm pretty cautious about not over-doing it now especially since my periods are still all over the place and quite infrequent even though I've been back at a normal weight for some time.  It's just frustrating because I genuinely do love running but I'm sad to say the disordered part of my brain did latch onto it and turn it into somewhat of a compulsion.  I'd be pretty happy to go back and see a psych again if it meant a more healthy return to running - but in the meantime I guess I just want to know how much is safe.

        paul2432


          I don’t have any particular advice, just want to wish you well in your comeback and recovery.

          speed_demon


            I don’t have any particular advice, just want to wish you well in your comeback and recovery.

             

            Thank you! Much appreciated Smile

            robin from maine


              A couple of things you are already doing;

              1) leg strength exercises (writing alphabet with your foot)

              2) take your vitamin D

              3) don't skimp on shoes (lots of advice on RA if in doubt how to choose)

               

              Then, be patient with yourself. Pay attention to what you're feeling, not just while you run, but ion the 24 hours after. Stress injuries are sneaky, and may not cause problems during the run, but show up as a deep ache several hours later. That's a signal to take a day off and make the next outing a lot shorter and easier, to get a sense of what is happening. Try to get a sense for what is delayed onset muscle soreness, and what is a strain or sprain.

               

              Good luck!


              runktrun

                I was anorexic in high school and luckily fully recovered; I really couldn't care less about food, weight, etc now.  What really resonated for me was doing everything I could to perform well.  I know there's a fine line between racing weight and underweight/underfueled, BUT...WHEN IN DOUBT, EAT MORE.  I am so totally serious.  Even if your restricting is years in the past, your body is STILL trying to rebuild, esp since you say your periods are erratic (but YAY that you do get some).  Your body also needs extra calories right now to heal, or finish healing, the stress fracture.  I know it can be a long road back from an eating disorder and some little habits stick around that can negatively impact your running, so hopefully you're in a good place with food.  And props to all the work you've done to get yourself in a much better place.  It ain't easy to change.  Here's a little blog by Matt Fitzgerald that I really liked, regarding food:

                https://8020endurance.com/a-message-to-endurance-athletes-who-worry-a-lot-about-calories/

                 

                Anyway, specific to your sfx:  you can really use pain as your guide as you return to running more consistently, as long as you're honest with yourself about what feels like "pain."  Bone growth is constant; no one run or single mile is going to send you back to square one of your injury, but you can certainly slow down your full recovery.  As long as you have no pain during or after your run, keep building miles slowly.  If you do feel pain, take as many days off as necessary til you're pain free walking or cross training, then try a short run, like 1:00 walk, 1:00 jog til you've run a mile.  Continue to build, pausing if you feel pain.  Since you're already at 4mi every other day, I'd start by adding a walk/jog to some of the days you're not currently running, increasing the time you run each day by a few minutes.  I wouldn't try any workouts until you've gotten back to your pre-injury mileage for a month.

                 

                Hope that helps.  Robin has good advice, too.  Kudos to you for being cautious.

                Not running for my health, but in spite of it.