Came across an interesting article I’d like to share from the NY Times, titled: How to prevent stress fractures.
A recent study showed a correlation between smaller or weaker calf muscles and greater risk of acquiring a tibia stress fracture, one of the most common forms of stress fractures. The article talks about even a minor increase in calf muscle mass or strength can go a long way to help prevent tibia stress fractures, especially in women runners.
The other half of the article focused on a separate study which showed that shorter stride lengths, or a higher running cadence helped minimize the risk of tibia stress fractures.
Brent Edwards, lead author of the study and now a post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois, in Chicago. “If you spend less time in the flight phase of running” — meaning in the air — “you’ll hit the ground with less force.” On the other hand, you’ll hit the ground more often. But in Mr. Edwards’s models, the reduction in pounding from an abbreviated stride outweighed the shock from a few additional strides per mile.
We certainly don’t recommend trying to force your natural stride length overnight but the article does note that even a 10% or less change, which Edwards says can be done without any discomfort, can go a long way to prevent tibia stress fractures. It’s also important to understand that there are many elements involved in preventing stress fractures, like nutrition and diet, the types of surfaces you’re doing the majority of your running on, genetics, etc.
Check back for tips on increasing your running cadence.