Health Advice For Active People: Preventing Stress Fractures

Posted on: 10 July 2015

Stress fractures in the foot are a potential threat for people who exercise regularly. Although getting exercise is important, being physically active can also increase your chances of developing tiny cracks in the bones of your feet. A stress fracture is not only painful, it can keep you from exercising for many weeks while the bone heals. This article takes a look at some of the steps that you can take to avoid this type of injury. 

Vitamin D 

One of the risk factors for stress fractures is a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D helps to build strong bones and a lack of this nutrient can weaken the bones in your feet and make them more vulnerable to fractures. If you are not getting enough vitamin D, the Mayo Clinic recommends adding foods fortified with this nutrient to your daily diet. This would include foods such as milk tuna fish, halibut, salmon and yogurt.   

New Activity 

Stress fractures often occur when you are switching to a new physical activity and overdo it. For instance, if you are a basketball player who decides to take up running or jogging, start out slowly. Increase your speed and the length of each exercise session gradually over several weeks. This gives your body time to adjust to the demands that the new activity makes on your feet. One good idea is to increase the length of your sessions by a small percentage each week. 


The type of shoe you wear may help you avoid a stress fracture. For example, if you walk for exercise, there are shoes available that will help keep your feet stable as you walk, reducing any undue stress on the bones. Also wearing custom orthotics, or inserts, can reduce the possibility of stress fractures. Keep in mind that older athletic shoes can lose their ability to sufficiently cushion your feet, which might increase the chances of a fracture. 

Cross Train 

Crossing training can help prevent stress fractures of the foot as well. By incorporating other activities into your exercise routine, you can avoid putting too much stress on a single part of your body, such as your feet. 

Stress fractures are something every active person needs to think about because being physically active can increase your risk for developing this problem. If you suspect that you have developed a stress fracture in one of your feet, stop exercising and consult a foot and ankle specialist in your area.