And things were going so well! Just when everything was starting to click… Calcaneal stress fracture!!!
Alright, so I’ve exaggerated slightly. That’s a displaced fracture. My issue looks more like this –
Bones can react well to stress provided you don’t overload and give them time to recover. Runners tend to have stronger bones than non-runners because of this. However, if you don’t allow the bones time to recover, they can move into a state of stress reaction, or worse stress fracture.
My issue might be more complicated. My new coach Nick Anderson and I suspect this is down to biomechanics. Somewhere along the line, I’ve started putting too much stress through my heel because of the way I run. Think of a startled gazelle! Anyway nothing that a good bit of full-body video gait analysis can’t fix. If only I’d had a preventative MRI scan….
The upshot is that I’ve got to spend 4-6 weeks in crutches. And I can’t run until the beginning of October which means I’m pulling out of the Berlin Marathon. The worst thing I can do now is wallow in self-pity about it all. Yes I was just starting to get into the best shape of my life but now I’ve got time to work on my weaknesses and come back stronger.
Next time, I’ll report back on my transition to partially weight bearing activities in the hope that I retain my aerobic fitness and get stronger. Until then, you’ll find me bouncing off the walls!
Prevention of stress fractures for runners
- Eat well + lots of vit D and calcium to improve bone mineral density
- Regularly change your shoes so they don’t get too worn
- Have your gait looked at with a full body analysis
- 10% increase in activity/intensity a week rule
- Strength training
- Consider some cross training to avoid consistent high-impact activity