How to Prevent Stress Fractures

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How to Prevent Stress Fractures

Gretchen Reynolds of The New York Times explores two new stress fracture studies recently published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Gretchen Reynolds – The New York Times

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Gretchen Reynolds of The New York Times explores two new stress fracture studies recently published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.  The two studies, conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University, assess different causes for stress fractures in runners.  The University of Minnesota team looked at the correlation between calf size and shinbone stress fractures in 39 competitive female athletes.  Their findings suggest that women with even slightly larger calves suffer from far fewer stress fractures.  Moira Petit, one of the U of M researchers on the project, states that larger calves mean stronger calves and, in turn, stronger bones.  The former can help absorb shock and the latter provides a healthier base, a combination that radically reduces stress fracture risk.  The second study at Iowa State, focused on stride length and landing force as a driver for stress fractures.  By studying 10 cross country runners, they were able to see that shorter strides cause less damage to runners’ shinbones.  Although shorter stride length creates a more repetitive impact, the reduction in force per stride more than makes up for the repetition.  Reynolds points out that these studies provide, not only more clarity into what causes stress fractures but also practical and easy means by which to reduce one’s chances of injury.

By Gretchen Reynolds

Published:  December 1, 2009

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The New York Times

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