Asked 8 years, 2 months ago

How should I handle a Tibial Stress Fracture?

Don’t Short Change a Tibial Stress Fracture

I’m a 29-year-old female runner (both road and trail marathons), hiking enthusiast, and recreational road cyclist and though I’ve been competing in sports since the fourth grade, I’ve never had downtime due to injury. I gave my leg a stress fracture after my long trail run the other week. I got a point pain in my lower left shin about four inches from the top of my foot literally during the last mile of a 47-mile trail that we took at a comfortable pace, taking all day and walking up the steeper slopes.

I iced and massaged it that night. The pain continued throughout the night, constant but approximately a 2 on a 10-point scale—I was able to sleep, though I was concerned about its persistence. I took the next day off from exercise, but after a 20-minute trail run the following day, the flats were uncomfortable and the downhills were excruciating, causing me to cut the run short. Road biking hurt the next day, and after another day off I went swimming—it hurt to kick.

I went to see an orthopedist, and he told me no running or hiking for three months. He also indicated two months without biking, but said that I could start swimming now. Three months of no running is hard for me to accept. Are there any other rehab recommendations that might allow me to return to running earlier?

Fran Dewitt
Gardiner, Montana


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