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A Runner's Least Favorite Words: Stress Fracture

This is what a bone scan image of a tibial stress fracture looks like.

After two months of pain (and denial) in my right shin, I finally know exactly what's wrong. I went to the doctor about a month ago, and he recommended easing back on my running. With the Boston Marathon just weeks away, I cut back and focused on cross training. In the two weeks leading up to Boston, I only ran three miles.

I haven't run at all since Boston. When I got home from the race, I called my doctor and asked to get an X-Ray of my leg. It came back clear, but because my leg wasn't getting better, he ordered a bone scan.
As soon as the image came up on the screen, I was pretty sure it was a stress fracture since there was a glowing white spot in the exact place of my pain.

It is still sinking in that I won't be able to run for 4-6 weeks. Today has been a roller coaster of emotions.
But I'm trying to be positive. I am trying to focus on the fact that I finally know what is wrong and can work toward helping my leg heal and making sure my body is strong when I can run again.


  1. Stress fractures are a pain! I've had 2 of them and they are hard to diagnose. I still think they are HUNDREDS times better then an IT band problem or plantar fasciitis. PT took me out of running for almost a YEAR! You can do it!

  2. I have to agree with Kathee's comment - stress fractures have a finite heal time, other injuries can linger forever (or at least feel like it)! I know how frustrating it is to stay away from running, but you'll come back stronger. Enjoy the crosstraining - my first stress fracture was the reason I started doing triathlon!

  3. Ugh, I know how this feels. I also ignored pain for weeks, PRed my half marathon, then stopped running last November. I'm almost back to running 30 minutes at a time now but still have soreness and need lots of rest after running. It's a longer process than I realized. The injury did get me biking, swimming, and weight lifting but I spent most of the time being frustrated I couldn't run.

  4. Oh, and my stress fracture appears to be in the exact same spot as yours. I hope your healing goes smoother than mine has!

  5. The moderate, dynamic nature of this damage makes side effects happen steadily and intensify with proceeded with effort. Our feet persevere stresses when we walk, hop or even stand. stress fractures in runners


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