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Bone Stress Injuries in Runners x Achieve Podiatry

Are you an avid runner?

Chances are you’ve heard of a bone stress injury and questioned what it is, how it occurs, and how to prevent it.

What is it

A bone stress injury is a maladaptive process resulting in the gradual reduction in a bones structural integrity over time.

These injuries occur along a 3-stage continuum:

  1. Stress reaction
  2. Stress fracture
  3. Complete fracture

In essence this continuum is a sliding scale, and each grade represents the amount of structural deformation present.

How it occurs

Loading a bone through weight-bearing activities (eg. running) results in micro-damage to the bone which signals for new bone formation.

If adequate recovery between weight-bearing activities occurs this micro-damage is repaired and is essential for the development of strong, healthy bones.

If inadequate recovery occurs, this micro-damage compounds and results in structural deformation, which if not addressed may then progress along the previously mentioned continuum.

How to prevent it

  1. Ensure you’re fuelling your body adequately. Your energy consumption (caloric intake) should match the energy demands of your training.
  2. Closely monitor your running volume and increase this gradually. An increase of more than 10-30% weekly increases your risk of developing a bone stress injury.
  3. If you’re already performing sessions with high intensity (fast-pace), ensure you’re not neglecting easy, slow-paced running in your training week.
  4. Include strength training in your routine. Muscular strength plays an important role in dissipating the stress placed on bones.


Our friends at Achieve Podiatry have written part 2 to this post. Be sure to check it out here.

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