I get tons of questions on my website each month about stress fractures, such as navicular stress fractures, tibial stress fractures and femoral neck fractures. Affected individuals ask about treatment, return to sports or exercise and prevention. Let’s talk about the importance of bone density.
Risk factors for stress fractures
In terms of preventing a stress fracture, you must find and change some of the risk factors that can cause the injury. Often it is a training error, such as increasing your training too quickly, that increases your chance of suffering the overuse injury. Poor shoe condition in runners, inadequate caloric intake and more can be important factors.
The role of poor bone density
Weaker bones cannot withstand the same level of repetitive stress. To determine if you have less than optimal bone density, you might consider undergoing a baseline screening. Your doctor could then observe or treat the deficiency.
Screening after a stress fracture
If you suffer a stress fracture, undergoing a bone density study could be a good idea. Underlying osteopenia or osteoporosis can be found, even in teenage female athletes. Many stress fractures are recurrent injuries. Check with your doctor or orthopaedic surgeon to see if you should undergo screening after you suffer one of these injuries.