What is a Tibial Stress fracture and how do you prevent it?
If you’ve had a stress fracture before, you’ll know how painful it is. It’s a relatively common injury for runners to experience, so we’re exploring what a Tibial Stress fracture is and most importantly, how to avoid developing them yourself.
What is a Tibial Stress Fracture? – A stress fracture occurs when a bone breaks but not all the way through. These hairline cracks in the bone are not gained in the same way other types of breaks are. Where typical bone breaks are the result of a traumatic impact, hairline or stress fractures are the result of repeated application of force on the bone over time.
The tibia is one of two bones that make up the calf, the other is the fibula. The tibia is the larger bone. As it is weight bearing it takes the most pressure from repeated activities like running.
A Tibial Stress Fracture will feel like a deep throbbing pain in the shin. You may notice some swelling and more pain when load bearing. It’s unlikely the cracks will appear on an x-ray until 3-4 weeks have passed, as they are so fine. They will only appear as the bone heals itself. Resting for 8 weeks is one way to heal your bone, but consult your sports physiotherapist.
How do you prevent a Tibial Stress Fracture? – As a Tibial Stress Fracture is often incurred by runners, it would be easy to suggest to avoid running long distances or at a high frequency or pace. This is not always practical or desired. Instead, attempt to avoid muscle fatigue in the legs as weight distribution will shift and the bone will be required to take increased weight and impact. The other primary cause is a sudden shift from soft trails or grassy tracks to hard urban surfaces. The sudden change in impact can cause Tibial Stress Fractures to occur. Consider also the quality of your running shoes. Proper support should be of paramount importance, as this will help to reduce the shock of impact on your feet and legs.
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Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site
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