Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

Too Much Too Soon



Your return to activity should be slow and steady, with small amounts of weight-bearing activity done on alternate days on a cushioned surface. For instance, if you have a stress fracture you might be biking 30 minutes a day to maintain aerobic fitness. When you are medically cleared to resume running, you may start by running for five to 10 minutes on grass, then biking for 20 to 25 minutes to complete your 30 minutes.

As long as you are pain-free, you can run every other day and increase your running time by five to 10 minutes per session. This allows time for the bone to adapt to the forces of impact again, helping to prevent a recurrence of stress fracture.

Most stress fractures can be effectively treated in this manner; but a few deserve special attention. A stress fracture in the neck of the thigh bone (femur) where it angles toward the hip socket is serious and may become a complete fracture. Surgery, including a pinning of the hip with orthopedic screws, would then be needed. To avoid surgery women are immobilized on crutches until such stress fractures heal.

Stress fractures in the small bones of the wrist and foot can be difficult to diagnose and may not heal completely. They may require surgery and bone grafts for healing to take place.

Seven Ways To Decrease Your Stress Fracture Risk

1. After resuming physical activity, gradually increase its duration and intensity over four to six weeks to allow the bone time to adapt to the increased load.

2 Assure yourself a daily intake of 1,000 milligrams of calcium, the principal mineral in bone. Amenorrheic women need 1,500 mg of calcium a day. One 8-ounce cup of skim milk has 300 mg, a cup of plain yogurt has 415 mg and 1 oz of cheddar cheese has 200 mg.

3. Don't train in shoes that have lost their cushioning and supportive properties. Look for wear patterns on the bottom of the sole or buy new shoes after 300 miles.

4. If you have stopped menstruating for two months or more, see a physician for a full evaluation and consideration of hormone replacement therapy to maintain bone mass.

5. Be aware of your exercise surface. Hard, unyielding floors and concrete or asphalt surfaces don't provide shock absorption and transmit more forces to the bone.

6. If you run on the side of the road, change direction regularly to even out the time you spend running on the slanted surface.

7. Strengthen the muscles in the front of your lower leg by heel-walking, toe-tapping and doing ankle flexing exercises with 1- or 2-pound weights strapped around the toes. Strengthening these muscles will balance the strength in the larger calf muscles.

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About the authors: Carol L. Otis, M.D., is Chief Medical Advisor to the Sanex WTA and a UCLA student health physician. Roger Goldingay is a former professional soccer player. They are married and the co-authors of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

General Health
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