Lute
Need Advice On Femoral Stress Fracture 7/25/2005 12:38PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I've had a stress fracture in my femur since the last week of April. I would've thought it would be healed by now. Last week I ran Monday thru Thursday (light pace, low miles) and had no pain until Friday. After limping a bit over the weekend walking is pain-free today. Did I just overdo it or was it too early to have been running at all? Can I start running again once the pain dissipates or should I wait another few weeks? I would appreciate any advice.
RIPT
RE: Need Advice On Femoral Stress Fracture 7/25/2005 12:43PM - in reply to Lute Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
It still sounds kind of early to me. I was on crutches for 8 weeks then i was building up my walking to speed walking over the next 4 weeks. I don't think i ran until like week13 or 14. and at that point it was for like 2-3 minutes at a time. Femoral stress fractures are tricky. Pain is often an indicator that you are irritating that area again. My ortho used to tell me that if i was getting pain i should take a few weeks off and start back over from one week prior.
Good LUck
Ed
Lute
RE: Need Advice On Femoral Stress Fracture 7/25/2005 1:36PM - in reply to RIPT Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Thanks for the help. I'm confused about the pain though because I ran for four days (15 miles total at about 7:40 pace) and had no pain at all and then suddenly had pain after the fourth day's run. Was I irritating it all along or would I have been fine if I had just alternated days or something?
some HS kid
RE: Need Advice On Femoral Stress Fracture 7/25/2005 1:44PM - in reply to Lute Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
ive had a femur stress fracture in the left and stress reaction in the right, for the left leg, it took 6 weeks to heal and i started outslowly but, after a few months of solid training it started to seem like the pain was coming back so i would take off again, but ilater learned it was just "scar tissue/calcium?" that develops and i kept running and after a week or 2 it disappeared, happened about 3 times till last year didnt feel a thing since then, its just a slight pain like youre about to get anotehr fracture but...the hard part is you dont know if its a pseudo one or the next break, for you, if you tooktime off in april i think thats plenty of time
BobCAT05
RE: Need Advice On Femoral Stress Fracture 7/25/2005 2:30PM - in reply to Lute Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Lute,
I'm not sure if you took enough time off. I had to take about 7 months off for a similar fracture. However, if an MRI says you are healed, then you're fine to run. The pain you feel is most likely scar tissue. That will go away after about 6 weeks. It is nothing to worry about, and heals on its own. Maybe your mistake is trying to run everyday, instead of every other day. After a stress fracture, everyone feels really weak in the fractured area. The thing you have to remember is that the body heals itself very well. The area that was injured in now about 4 times as strong as it was previously. There is virtually no chance that that area will get fractured again, although you may get other fractures if your bones are weak. Just make sure to take your calcium, and take it easy for a while.
jaguar1
RE: Need Advice On Femoral Stress Fracture 7/25/2005 3:52PM - in reply to Lute Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I had pain every time I came back from each of my 7 stress fractures (including 4 in my femurs); it would only last 1-2 weeks and go away. The residual pain is normal and probably the result of inflamed tissue surrounding the area (bone takes 6-8 weeks to heal, inflamed tissue may take longer). The bone is actually stronger than ever because of the bone callus, so you have no worries! I also agree about running every other day the first 2-3 weeks, and then go 2 days on/1 day off, 3 days on/1 day off, etc....
Lute
RE: Need Advice On Femoral Stress Fracture 7/25/2005 4:00PM - in reply to jaguar1 Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
But if it's not healed then I'll be doing further damage by running on it. So do I have to get an MRI to make sure it's healed before I resume running? Aren't they quite expensive?
Othopedic DOC
RE: Need Advice On Femoral Stress Fracture 7/25/2005 6:02PM - in reply to Lute Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Don't push your luck until something breaks... if you had pain within the last week then the injury clearly hasn't healed completely...... you need to stop running until you've been pain free for at least a couple of weeks. In the meantime, GET THAT MRI (don't waste any more time with this one) and weight train to encourage bone remodeling. Additionally, elliptical training is a low-force alternative to running that will not likely aggrovate your injury and will preserve your fitness to a limited degree. I know you are anxious to get back on the road, but you don't want this to turn into a chronic injury that you will wrestle on-and-off with for years. That shit turns runners into non-runners. Before you start running again, make sure that your leg is stronger than it was before you were injured...... otherwise you are asking for more time off
spaceball
RE: Need Advice On Femoral Stress Fracture 7/25/2005 6:17PM - in reply to Lute Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
ive done bonescans
Bobcat05
RE: Need Advice On Femoral Stress Fracture 7/25/2005 6:53PM - in reply to Lute Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'm no doctor but...When a stress fracture heals, a calcium deposit is made on the spot that is fractured. When you get an MRI, it will show the deposit. From that day forward, the wound is healing. As it heals, you have to put a little bit of stress on the area in order for it to grow stronger. So, in the first stages you put no pressure (ie using crutches). After the deposit is formed, you can put a little pressure (ie walking). Then, as time goes by, you can actually run on the area, even if it is not completely healed. That added bit of pressure helps it to heal. My understanding is that once the calcium deposit is there, the wound is healing, and will not regress unless you put an extreme amount of pressure on it too fast, or your bones are insanely weak.
RIPT
RE: Need Advice On Femoral Stress Fracture 7/25/2005 7:12PM - in reply to Bobcat05 Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Bobcat pretty much has the right idea. You do have to gradually stress it, and you will get some pain from the periosteum remodeling, but this shouldn't be a nagging thing. In my experience it might seem a little bit irritated (and i stress a LITTLE) but it was fine the next day.

The MAJOR concern with running on a femoral stress fracture is that if its high on the femur (neck or higher) you are at a large risk for developing avascular necrosis. There normally has to be some sort of displacement of the femur in order for this to happen, but it is entirely possible to do this if you're not properly resting it.

I guess what it comes down to is this: Is the fracture healed? If so you want to really gradually increase your mileage. I got off the crutches on january 20 or so, and i'm just getting back up to 50 miles per week now. Its not worth it to rush back. I'm assuming you're young and would like to run for you entire life.

Hope this helps a little.
Ed