How to Avoid Stress Fractures While Playing Sports

Woman sitting on ground in pain due to ankle injury

Would you believe that stress fractures account for a full one-sixth of all sports-related injuries? It’s true.

Another important thing to know about these fractures is that they do not discriminate. Bowlers, runners, gymnasts, soccer players, roller derby skaters, racquetball enthusiasts, swimmers, and even cricket players are all vulnerable to this type of injury.

Learn how to avoid a stress fracture, no matter your athletic pursuit!

Make Sure You Have the Proper Footwear

Supportive footwear that is specially designed for your sport is crucial. Don’t buy your athletic shoes online, sight unseen. Instead, go to a brick-and-mortar store for a proper fitting.

The type of sneaker worn for running is very different from, say, soccer cleats, tennis, or cross-training. Wearing proper footwear can prevent not only stress fractures, but shin splints, IT band issues, and other problems.

Check Your Form

If you are a recreational athlete, in particular, it can be difficult to know if you’re using proper form.

Consult with a trainer or professional in your sport to make sure that you are moving correctly. Putting an unnecessary strain on certain muscles can lead to muscle injuries, as well as stress fractures.


If all you ever do is play tennis, swim, or run, you’re putting yourself at risk. Make sure to cross-train. That means getting enough cardiovascular exercise and weight or strength training.

Cross-training will develop muscles that aren’t necessarily used in your sport. It can also improve balance, endurance, and more.

Vary Your Everyday Footwear

If you’re a woman and only ever wear high-heels when you’re not exercising, switch to flats — at least occasionally. Heels can put unnecessary strain on the bones of your legs and feet, and this, in turn, can lead to stress fractures.

It wouldn’t be fun to be sidelined from your favorite sport just because you wanted to look taller on a date!

Make Your Training Consistent

Many sports have seasons. If you are active during only part of the year — playing recreational kickball or softball, for example, or skiing during the winter months — you will be at great risk for a stress fracture (as well as many other injuries).

Maintain the same level of activity year round, even if you can’t participate in your favorite sport all year long.

Watch Your Training Environment

Used to running on a treadmill? Expect to be slowed down when you make the transition to asphalt or a track.

Any alteration in the surface you play or train on can potentially wreak havoc with your muscles and, you guessed it, your bones.

Get the Right Nutrients

Calcium and Vitamin D are crucial nutrients for maintaining healthy bones.

As an athlete, you should already be eating a healthful diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Make sure that your meals include plenty of calcium-rich foods, like sweet potatoes, broccoli, sunflower seeds, tofu, and, of course, dairy products.

Suspect Stress Fractures?

Don’t try to “tough it out.” An untreated stress fracture will only get worse, causing you more pain — and more time away from the sport you love.

Urgent care facilities are a great place to go if you think you may be suffering from a stress fracture. There, you can have X-rays taken, talk to a doctor, and get an immediate diagnosis.

Give Thibodaux Regional Urgent Care – Thibodaux a call — or just stop in to see us! Your bones will thank you.

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