Stress Fractures

Hi all. My neighbour and running partner has stress fractures in his shins and has been in plaster for about 3 weeks with another week to go before seeing the doc again to get it taken off.

Can anyone help and let me know how long he should rest for, anything he can do to speed his recovery or maintain his fitness in the interim, and stop him being such a miserable git!!


  • I had a minor stress fracture last year, not severe enough to warrant plaster though. From diagnosis in March, I began tentative running on a treadmill toward the end of June and that was on a very gradual build up (1min run, 1 min walk).

    My recovery wasn't ideal in that I had a 3 week holiday in Australia in that period which involved lots of walking about which slowed down the path to full recovery. However, from the day of diagnosis, i went out and bought a bike and begun cycling the six miles to work. that seemed to keep the fitness levels quite high without much impact on recovery.

    Good news was that after I got some orthotics and remodelled my running style, I've been injury-free (touch wood) ever since and have run PBs for 10km, 1/2M and marathon this year. It took lots of patience but the rewards are there.

    the bat
  • Cheers Bat. My pal has understandably been feeling a bit low especially as he was running really well setting pbs for 5k, 10k, half and marathon this year (which may have something to do with it).

    It's encouraging to hear you running so well after coming back. He's looking at getting a treadmill and doing plenty of slightly more cushioned run / walking that way.

    I've also heard of people using aqua jogging to recover???
  • Doc, couldn't comment on the aqua jogging caper. The only time I'm in a swimming pool is on holiday or if I was ever to get on the old kids tv show "We Are The Champions". Guess I'm a bit old for that now.

    And if your pal was setting new PBs for those distances, there is a fair chance that he was doing lots of training, and lots of speedwork. That was what got me - overtraining and high arches. Couldn't run across the road when it happened; four weeks before FLM 2002. Deferred entry till this year and ran 3:13. Chuffed to bits and well worth the 18 month build up!
  • Bloody hell ; 3:13 that's not hanging around. I am of course secretly pleased he's buggered as it means I can put a few more pbs in and make him even more miserable.

    (Did I really say that)
  • The doctor,

    If you don't mind me asking what were your friends symptoms as I have recently visited a podiatrist who cannot staisfy himself that I have not got a stress fracture. A 10% niggle as he puts it.
  • Hi Clarkie,

    Oddly Rich started having aching in his calves at first but then it spread to the sides of his shins. He said it felt really tight and he complained about a numbness down his right lower leg and into his foot.

    It's complicated a little as he had 2 fractures. One in the shin and another across the arch of his foot. The consultant also said he has a hot spot in his left shin too bless him.

    The only way he resolved it was to get a bone density scan. His gp was crap and just gave him painkillers and told him to rest!!
  • Thanks doctor

    Did he get the scan privately or via the NHS. The podiatrist told me that without private health care and ignoring the extreme waiting lists on the NHS a scan would cost £500+.

    I daren't talk to my GP.

    My symptoms do not seem to be the same as your friends (thankfully for me) as I have a very localised sore spot that having run on it this evening for the first time in two weeks just niggled and occasionally felt a little tight across the lower calf.

    Wish him a speedy recovery.
  • Hi Clarkie,

    Back in the land of the living now after a long wet bike ride home last night.

    Yep Rich went private through his work scheme and was seen within a week which was brilliant. Scan costs from your chap are about right actually.

    Not being a smartarse but I get regular physio (preventative not curative) and make sure I change my shoes every 400 miles and I use different cushioned shoes for fast or longer slow stuff. Might sound a bit pernickity (and reading this as I write it it looks even more obsessive) but so far it works. No leg problems.

    Now if we're talking backs........

    Best of luck.
  • Thanks for the input The Doctor.
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