Q. What causes stress fractures in runners? Could a vegan diet be a factor?
A. A stress fracture is a small crack in the bone. It’s an “accumulation injury,” said Dr. Michael Terry, an orthopedic surgeon and professor of orthopedic surgery at Northwestern Medicine.
With exercise and everyday activities, and even our normal body weight, we are constantly putting stress on our bones. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since stress causes microdamage to our bones that our body naturally repairs, and that continual repair process helps to make the bones stronger.
However, “if you don’t give bones long enough to catch up, instead of getting stronger they’ll break down, and you accumulate enough injury that the bones can break,” Dr. Terry said.
The most common cause of stress fractures is overtraining to the point that your bones can’t heal. The chance of developing a stress fracture increases if you suffer from any condition that also affect bone health. Such conditions include amenorrhea, in which women stop menstruating, thyroid and parathyroid diseases, and renal diseases.
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