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Home Performance Prevention Avoiding Stress Fractures

Avoiding Stress Fractures

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Your Leg has its own Shock Absorbers: How to Avoid the Dreaded Stress Fracture

Stress fractures are extremely painful and debilitating injury to any athlete that runs. Common places for it to happen are in the shins, thighbone, and footbones. Stress fractures can happen when your leg's natural shock absorption system is weak.
There's two types of shock absorption going on in your legs when you run. This week we'll talk about the first: Dorsiflexion.
Dorsiflexion is your ability to point your foot upward. You may be able to do it fine once or twice sitting down and wonder what's the big deal, but in a high force repetitive situation like sprinting, the slightest weakness like poor dorsiflextion gets magnified, and over time you can get a stress fracture. To absorb shock to the lower limb effectively during running, the ankle needs sufficient range of motion to absorb the stresses. Poor dorsiflexion is often a result of tight calf musculature and ankle joints with limited mobility.
Ankles and calves should be stretched daily, before and after activity, to prevent the development of stress related symptoms.
One of The most effective calf stretches is done on a semicircular device known as a Fitstretch. It has an inclined forefoot which really gets to tight calf muscles and stretches them allowing you to dorsiflex more freely. Keep the knee straight, with the body as upright as possible. If you bend over and let your butt stick out, you're reducing the effectiveness of this stretch. As with all stretches, move into the stretch gently and slowly to the point of tension but never pain. Hold the position for approximately 30 seconds without bouncing. It's that simple. Do this before and after your workout and you'll spend more time sporting and less time hurting!