Whether you want to prevent an initial stress fracture or lower your risk for a recurrence, consider the following:
- When exercising, wear supportive athletic shoes that fit properly. Orthotics, if appropriate for you, may help prevent stress fractures of the femur and tibia, preliminary research suggests.
- If you engage in high-impact activities, such as running, increase the frequency, intensity, and duration gradually. Avoid overtraining.
- Address biomechanical issues. A sports medicine doctor, physiatrist, physical therapist, athletic trainer, or other sports-related health professional can help determine if you have overpronation, a high or low foot arch, leg-length differences, or other anatomical issues that may put you at increased risk.
- Eat a healthy diet that provides adequate calories. Get enough calcium and vitamin D (take supplements if your diet falls short).
- If present, address menstrual irregularities or eating disorders with your health care provider, as these conditions can adversely affect your bones.
- Discuss osteoporosis screening with your health care provider. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women get bone density tests starting at age 65; younger women with more risk factors should start earlier. The Endocrine Society and the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommend that men be screened at age 70, or earlier if they are at elevated risk for fractures.
Reporting contributed by Jeanine Barone. This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Published October 14, 2019