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Can Stress Fractures Be Prevented?

Stress fractures are common injuries, especially for people who have a job or play a sport that includes a repetitive force activity – such as running or jumping. Overuse and stress on your legs or feet can lead to a tiny crack in your bone, otherwise known as a stress fracture. It’s also common to incur a stress fracture when you begin a new exercise program and attempt to do too much too soon. 

At Orthopedic Associates of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers, Dr. Edward R. Dupay, Jr. has more than 30 years of experience as an orthopedic surgeon who treats all types of musculoskeletal problems and injuries. He takes a conservative approach to treating injuries, including stress fractures, helping people heal without surgery whenever possible.

Dr. Dupay shares some key info about stress fractures and tips for preventing them from occurring in the first place. 

Who is at risk for stress fractures?

If you fall into any of the following categories, you’re at risk for stress fractures:

If you or a family member fall into any of these high-risk groups, there are simple steps you can take to prevent stress fractures. 

How to prevent stress fractures

Consider these lifestyle changes you can make, especially if you’re at risk for stress fractures. A small change can make a big difference in whether or not you suffer an injury. 

Strengthen your bones

If you know you’re deficient because of an existing health problem, be sure to get more calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones strong. The amount you need depends on your age and gender. You can get vitamin D and calcium from foods and supplements. 

Wear supportive shoes

Do you frequently wear high heels? If so, you’re putting extra stress on your feet. Wear supportive shoes to reduce your risk of a stress fracture, and wear the right kind of athletic hoes for any particular activity you participate in. 

Start a new exercise program gradually

Weekend warriors are people who lead mostly sedentary lives, then play hard on the weekends. If you fall into this group, be sure you warm up properly and ease yourself into a new sport or exercise program. 

For example, if you plan to run five miles on the beach this Saturday, but you sit at a desk all week, start by walking fast or jogging at a comfortable pace, and only go as far as you feel comfortable going. Stop running if your muscles or feet begin to hurt. 

Avoid exercising on concrete and other hard surfaces

Concrete and hardwood floors that don’t flex put more stress on your bones than grass or padded surfaces. If you play tennis or basketball on a cement court, be sure to wear shoes that provide cushioning and warm up your muscles first. 

Lose weight

When you shed extra pounds, you take the added pressure off your legs, feet, and joints. Reducing the amount of stress on bones when you exercise may help you avoid a stress fracture.

Try to cross train

If you mostly participate in high-impact sports, switch up your exercise routine with low-impact activities, too. Or, if you only play a high-impact sport during certain times of the year, then low-impact exercises in the off-season can keep you in shape without putting added pressure on your bones.

A few simple adjustments to your daily routine, diet, and approach to exercise go a long way in helping you prevent stress fractures and other orthopedic conditions. If you do experience pain and tenderness in your foot, leg, or another area, contact our office at 239-256-8738 so Dr. Dupay can evaluate the cause of your pain. You can also request the next available appointment through our online booking system.

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