Return to run from stress fracture..anyone | 80/20 Endurance

Return to run from stress fracture..anyone

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    Curry Gallagher

    I wound up with a stress fracture in my fibula during my last race in late June. The diagnosis was delayed cause it was seen on the first two xrays, but found on MRI.

    So I’m a little behind in recovery since the boot was delayed. I wasn’t running but walking was painful. Getting better, but I have a 70.3 in September. Its gonna be close and its possible I wont be healed enough to do it at all. Mid-August is best case scenario.

    Not sure how to approach my return to run once I can. It’ll have been 2 months off of running and about 3-4 weeks until the race. If I am healed there is a part of me that thinks, just follow the plan. But I am nervous about adding too many miles too soon.

    Any thoughts/experiences with would be much appreciated.

    David Warden


    I’m always a bit hesitant to provide what (I interpret to be) medical advise. Don’t listen to me, listen to a trained medical professional.

    But, if this were me, I would do the following:

    – Strength train now and continue to strength train once you start running. Stronger muscles takes that much more pressure off bone.
    – Soft surfaces for 50% of the time for several weeks, maybe even 100% for the first two weeks. Treadmill, grass, gravel…
    – Maybe some elliptical for a portion of your early return to running.
    – Don’t start off on Week 1 of the plan at ~3 hours of running right off the bat. I think 20 minutes of running 3x a week for the first week and then gradually build up from there. Ideally, you are running for 4 weeks before you even start the plan. Again, with the elliptical in there you can get away with more and this is not totally necessary.



    I would also check to see what your ortho MD says regarding return to weightbearing status dependent upon the severity of the stress fracture. With mine, I was actually able to bike 1 week post dx, but no standing on the bike… no running for 4 to 6 weeks. Plus I had a boot…. So, I think it will largely depend on what your MD says.

    I also work closely with a dietician who pointed me towards some collagen supplements that did seem to speed up the process (compared to previous stress fracture timelines). So, do feel as though they helped some. Perhaps you may be able to work with a dietician as well?

    Do you have access to PT? Was that the recommendation from the MD? – if not – depending on your state, you might be able to go direct access PT for more specific exercises targeted to your injury and prevention of further injury, though assuming that your MD would just write a script for therapy if he/she is already following you.

    good luck – stress fractures are a bummer

    Curry Gallagher

    Thanks for chiming in. Since its the fibula and not the tibia, it is a non-weight bearing bone. Fibula is less common to get stress fractures, thats why i was wondering if anyone on here ever dealt with it. Ortho seems to think that once healed that I should be good to go, but I need to have a more in-depth conversation with him about that to find out exactly what that means/looks like. He may just tell me to speak with the PT at that point, which I will do.

    Ortho has said that I am good to bike and swim, so I’ve been keeping up my fitness that way. Lifting is allowed as long as I am not applying pressure to that leg so I’ve modified/eliminated movements that involve pressure on that leg. Not ideal, but better than nothing.

    With a 70.3 somewhere from 2-4 weeks from healing, I’m struggling to plan training runs leading up to that. PT will likely have some ideas, but was looking for endurance athlete perspective/experience.

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