Risk for stress fractures when training too quickly

Risk for stress fractures when training too quickly

When it comes to race training, "No pain, No gain" is a common motto for hard-core runners. But when the pain is more than some soreness or muscle stiffness, it is time to stop.

Crutches were never a part of Christy Bertrand's race plan for a 5K in February.  "It was a less than two week time period we were going to try to do this and it would be the first time I ever competed in a 5K," she said.

Bertrand has always been active, but running was something she had not done for several years.  "We had muscle strains and things like that, but expected to have sore muscles," said Bertrand.

Race day started out great for Bertrand, but then came the pain.  "I was about two miles in and I started to get a pain in my left knee," she said.

That pain only increased and eventually landed Bertrand in the care of orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Geoffrey Collins, at Center for Orthopaedics.  "The overexertion can go from nothing to running a couple of miles or running a couple of miles to training for an event where they really have to increase their distance," he said.

An MRI showed that Bertrand had a stress fracture or small, cracked bone in her knee. This is a common injury in runners, not just in the knee, but also in the feet and hips.  "Bones are alive and they'll respond to stress if they're given an opportunity to do that," said Dr. Collins, "if you exceed that, then they fail."

They fail when they are being pushed too hard, too fast.  "The way we run into trouble with stress fractures are patients who are sharply increasing their level of activity or beginning a new workout program," said Dr. Collins.

Bertrand has gone from running, to walking with crutches and will have to rest for several weeks before her bones are ready again for the impact. But she has learned a lesson for her next round of race training.  "Go slow, steady and the rest days," she said, "the rest days are so important!"

If you are gearing up for a race or looking to shape up with running this spring, check out a free seminar on running injuries. It is coming up Tuesday, March 26th at 5:30 P.M. at Center for Orthopaedics on Imperial Boulevard in Lake Charles. Dr. Collins will talk about preventing and treating common injuries. Running shoe specialists will also be there to talk about finding the right shoe fit and even give away a pair of shoes. Pre-registration is required by calling 721-2903.

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