Since getting my stress fracture, I’ve done a lot of research on what causes them. To me the common answer of “too much too soon too fast” just didn’t sit right with me. If I didn’t feel like running, I wouldn’t make myself. If I felt a little twinge or ache, I never pushed through the pain. I was comfortably running the same 6 miles on T/TH and a longer run of 8-12 miles on the weekend. I ran fast if I felt good, I ran slow if it felt better. Sometimes it’s caused by improper diets so I told the doc what I ate and she said it sounded like I was fine. I even asked if being vegetarian (not vegan) caused it and she said no.
So I decided to take a different approach and look at my cross training. I would do upper body/ab strength training 3 times a week and the elliptical on my non-running days. And there, ladies and gentleman, I think I have found my cause. Elliptical uses basically the same muscles as running and generally the same motion. I wasn’t cross training, I was pseudo-low impact running. So instead of training my whole body, all my workouts had been focused on the same muscles. This creates an imbalance with the other weaker muscles. The strong ones get stronger, the weak ones get weaker.
I actually discovered my imbalances while taking an aqua aerobics class (part of my rehab…I’ll talk more about it later!). We had to do this move where you are on one side and kick ur legs so one is out and one is down then you reverse it. Holy Crap, I could not do it. I had muscles in my hips/glutes area that were so tight or weak that I could not physically do this move. I could run a 15k but not kick out and down for one lap? Obviously something wasn’t right.
So while I understand the actual impact of running is what caused my stress fracture, I think the reason behind the heavy impact was my weaker muscles. My fracture didn’t occur in my foot or lower leg where they are more common. It occurred in the femur right by the hip which just makes me believe even more that weak muscles played a role. The weak area means the additional stress is being placed on the surrounding bone and poof! Stress fracture.
Now this is is just me and my stress fracture (in my head I’m calling it Frac so we’re friends now). Too much too soon DOES cause some people’s fractures as well as a poor diet or poor running form. Some people can elliptical their way to happiness while others (me) it causes problems.
In the end, I know my body best. And while I appreciate my sports doctor, she only has the information I tell her. She can’t look at my running past and feel every ache or sore muscle I’ve had. I am the only advocate my body has and I’m listening loud and clear.