How to prevent running impact from causing stress fractures of the foot
Stress fractures in the foot are usually caused by the feet’s weight-bearing bones cracking because of the pressure of repeated strikes against hard surfaces that you incur when running. They typically crop up in the metatarsals – the five long thin bones on the top of the foot – but the calcaneus (heel), talus (ankle) and navicular (sandwiched between the talus and four other mid-foot bones) are also at risk.
Not only are such fractures painful, they will also require six to eight weeks of recovery before you can even begin to train again, so it’s best to try and avoid them in the first place – here are some tips to show you how.
Four Ways To Help Prevent Stress Fractures
1 Increase your running gradually. This avoids too much stress before your body is used to it and is important if you’re just staring out, as it takes time to build strength in muscles around the foot.
2 Wear the right footwear. Cushioning your feet is important, so have your running gait analysed and pick a pair of shoes that do the most to correct anything in your stride.
3 Run on grass. Mixing up the surface you run on to add softer ground into your training gives your feet a day off from concrete and the uneven ground promotes strong stabilising muscles.
4 Think of your distance. If you’re doing a long event, bear in mind that after a couple of hours the training benefit tapers off and the chance of injury increases, so plan your sessions wisely.