Stress Fractures


Stress Fractures are a condition where training load has exceeded your body’s ability to maintain bone structure, resulting in partial to complete breakdown of the bone. The most common sites for a stress fracture in the shin are the top inner portion of the shinbone (medial tibial plateau) and the central portion of the shin. Firm pressure on the bone in these two regions is usually distinctly painful.


Initially, you may be able to run without pain after you have warmed up; however, pain is often increased after the run. As the condition progresses the pain intensifies and will often leaves you limping. An X-ray will can be used to confirm the diagnosis after three weeks of symptoms (although this varies).


Whole food provided in the form of milk products with high potein, calcum and vitamin D is the best known nutritional guidance to prevent stress fracture and may speed recovery. Vitamin D (800iu per day) and Calcium (2g per day) intake has been shown to reduce the incidence of stress fractures in military cadets by 27% and should aid in quicker healing.



  • See Principles of Recovery.
  • This condition requires more aggressive rest. Plan on at least six weeks of not running. Cycling, swimming or deep water running are the best cross training options because of the decreased weight bearing. If you are limping when you walk, using crutches until the limp is gone will dramatically speed recovery.
  • In my experience with basic trainees, doing hamstring and adductor stretches will speed recovery for a stress fracture of the medial tibial plateau. See hamstring and adductor stretch.
  • Anti-inflammatories may actually delay bone healing. Use ice to get rid of the pain and alter your training so that it is pain free.
  • Vibration has been shown to accelerate bone healing. You can try using a vibrational massager by placing the massager on the bone a couple of inches away from the sore spot and holding it for 2-4 minutes twice per day.

Considerations: Nutritional or hormonal factors may affect this condition. Consult a sports physician if you feel this is a concern.Balanced Solution DVD