Running After a Stress Fracture

Running after a stress fracture

As I find myself returning to running after a stress fracture, I’m feeling like I need to check myself.

Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.

So much wisdom in those lyrics from Ice Cube.   I can’t let go of music from the 90s. Sorry not sorry.

Anyway, yesterday I had a follow up appointment with my orthopedic.  He reassured me that this isn’t going to be the normal for me, that stress fractures aren’t going to be happening every year.  It’s been 12 weeks since I felt the first twinge of pain. The fibula is healed. Yes, I now have Osteopenia to think about but I’m doing everything that I can to build up my bones. I can’t let this hold me back from doing what I want to do.

He suggested one thing to me that had me chuckle.

I should do at least one run a week and all of my hill training on a treadmill because there’s more cushioning.

Obviously the snort that I let out as I tried to hold back a laugh let him know what I thought about that.


On the bright side, he told me I would be perfectly fine to run Loon Mountain in July.  Just as long as I do hill training on the treadmill.

Dude.  You are killing me!

But I guess I can suck it up for one run a week on the treadmill if it means doing more trail/mountain races.


Running after a stress fracture | happyfitmama.comAnd never having to wear another boot again.

Even though he gave me the ok to run Loon, I’m going week by week to see how I feel.  If I don’t feel comfortable doing that distance or facing Upper Walking Boss (although I don’t think you CAN feel comfortable facing a 40% grade), I’m giving myself the option to back out.  What’s another DNS when that’s all I seem to do now?

With every running comeback that I’ve had from an injury, I find myself getting greedy and looking too far ahead.

What race should I do? 

There’s a group run on Saturday that’s doing 10-12 miles, I should be back to that distance in a couple of weeks.

I need to stay in the mile that I’m in. If it works in a race situation, it will work in returning to running after an injury, right?

The last thing I need to do is to re-injure myself, or worse yet, get a new injury, so I’m *trying* to following what not to do when returning to running after an injury.

I wrote about what not to do before and I need the reminders still today.

Running after a stress fracture |

Don’t go too fast, too long or too quickly.  Go slow, go short. Increase gradually. This time is not about finding my old pace.  It’s about gradually building a base. Don’t forget about cross training – it will only make you stronger.

Don’t stop physical therapy exercises! I’m pretty diligent about my PT exercises although not all of them as often as I should. Just because I’m feeling good, they still need to be done like it’s my job. I need to remember that they are also preventive exercises!

Running after a stress fracture |

Don’t compare pre-injury to post-injury. There was a time, not long ago, when I could run a 20 miler and have zero leg fatigue at the end. Now, I run less than 3 miles total (with walk breaks in between running intervals) and my legs are sore. It saddens me to think of how much endurance and strength I’ve lost. I know eventually I’ll return to “old me” workouts and times. In the meantime, I need to only focus on how much I’ve progressed in this “training” cycle. Because injury recovery really is what I’m training for right now.

Don’t ignore injury symptoms. I’ve learned with a stress fracture, it’s common to get phantom pains after returning to running. It’s not the same pain as before but more of a soreness.  Last week after my run on Thursday, the soreness felt more sore than before. It made me nervous, so I backed off from running entirely for three days. I foam rolled, used The Stick and stretched like crazy. Thankfully, everything is feeling back to normal now. I’ve learned that if I feel any of my old injury symptoms AT ALL, I need to address it. It may mean not running or even take going back to the distance/time that I was running two weeks ago. It’s not the END. Most likely, I’m avoiding anything serious by catching it early and avoiding any type of regression.

Running after a stress fracture |

I look forward to all the runs that I can do. I know what it’s like not to run so I’m holding on to every stride I can take. And if you are wondering what it’s like, you can read all about it HERE.

I remind myself daily that this is temporary. I will be back to “my old self” one day. Hopefully, a much stronger self.

Linking up with Coaches Corner and Wild Workout Wednesday.

What would you add to the list of what not to do after an injury?



21 comments on “Running After a Stress Fracture

  1. Even though its so much better to run outside, if the treadmill will help you stay injury free than it will be worth it! I feel like Ive been “coming back from injury” for way too long. Right now Im just sticking to 3 mile run/walks and not planning to increase for awhile. Its such a frustrating process!

  2. This is scary ! My son is in bootcamp and had 5 days left to earn to the Marine title and I got a call yesterday that he had a stress fracture in his tibia and he moved to medical platoon I was only 8 days away from seeing him now I don’t know when I’ll get to see him or how long it will take to heal so he can graduate.
    Christian Chavez recently posted..Best Rowing Machines for 2017: Best Rowers ReviewedMy Profile

  3. I just finished a book on returning to exercise after injury and “Don’t compare pre-injury to post-injury” is the most difficult for most people.

  4. It’s kind of scary returning to running after a fracture. I felt kind of vulnerable both times! I had to remind myself that the area of the fracture was healed and maybe even stronger due to the callus that formed at the site of the break.

    Looking forward to seeing you come back to form!

  5. Can you believe I actually am missing my treadmill today? It’s the only time I watch my TV shows and I have a ton waiting for me!! But the weather has been too nice in the morning for the basement.
    I have a friend who is just coming back from a stress fracture and she was out running 10 miles and mentioned it still hurt. She said she had only been in her boot for something like 5 weeks. I politely told her that she was crazy and needed to rest it some more!! It really shouldn’t hurt. So yes, great reminders to yourself on this healing process.
    Lisa @ TechChick Adventures recently posted..Happy National Running Day!… and what my Dr. saidMy Profile

    1. Oh no. This may be my first (and hopefully only) stress fracture but I know it shouldn’t be hurting. My PT and Dr. said soreness that is gone soon after is normal. I’m building new bone after all.

  6. I hope your return to running is smooth – even if you have to be on the treadmill, that sure beats not running at all! Your attitude of taking it one mile and one day at the time is so positive. Loon sounds like a great comeback race as well – although that 40% grade sounds so hard!

  7. It is so hard not to get ahead of yourself and think about races or make running plans. I’m already wondering how I’m going to ease back into running in a smart way. So hard!

    1. It’s hard when you are feeling so good. Well, I should say feeling good that I’m running again. Running doesn’t feel as effortless as it was pre-injury that’s for sure.

  8. I’m with you in running slowly, and gradually building a base when recovering. You’ll get there. No matter what, I believe you will be a stronger self wholistically as a person.

  9. Oh man, I know how you’re feeling. I haven’t had a stress fracture but I did have a stress reaction. Just the idea of it scared the hell out of me and now I’m uber paranoid. If I feel anything like I did when it first started up, I back off big time! Better safe than sorry. I’m not elite, I’m not getting paid to run, and I’m not winning any prize money. So if I need to take a few days off — even extended time off — I’m sure to do it.

    The treadmill isn’t so bad for hills!!

  10. I had a 2nd metatarsal stress fracture. It was scary to run again and it’s been several years and I still get nervous every time I feel a twinge.

  11. I needed this today. Thank you. I’m 3 months out from a broken ankle that required surgery. I’m just now walking without a cane. I have come so far, it I still have so far to go toget back to where I was. I really need to remember not to compare pre break me with post break me. It’s hard, but it’s not fair to myself and accomplishes nothing.

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