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Stress Fractures


This week's question -

Why am I/my child getting so many stress fractures?

My answer -

For some reason throughout my career, I see patients with similar injuries in waves. Unfortunately, the current wave is stress fractures. For many of my athletes, they are in peak training/competition season, so the increased training may have something to do with it, however no one that I treat is working out/training enough hours that should cause their bones to BREAK in the absence of another issue. (No one should be training that much, but there are some crazy coaches out there).

The 2 most common underlying reasons I see for stress fractures are mechanical issues and poor bone density.

The first is where I really specialize. Basically, our bodies and bones are made to take stress in normal patterns. When our movement comes outside of those normal patterns, the bones may not handle stress as well. This can be exacerbated at times of major body change, such as puberty which causes the center of mass and therefore movement patterns to change drastically in a short time. It can also be exacerbated by a significant uptick in training, which can happen around the end of season/post season.

The second underlying reason has to do with bone density - essentially the bone cannot handle as much force as it should be able to, so even "normal" forces are causing issues. This can stem from a vitamin D deficiency, calcium deficiency or a host of other nutritional reasons. If you suspect this is an issue, reach out to a registered dietician for assessment and help!

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