Posts for tag: fractures

Running is a great activity for your heart and overall health, but it can also be boring. Mile after mile of sidewalk, roadway, and houses can become monotonous and leave you uninspired when it comes time to work out. There is another option!

Fun events such as Savage Races, Mud Runs, the Obstacle River Run, the Green Beret Challenge, and Warrior Dash have given people a reason to start running again. These trails feature obstacles, and challenges participants will hurdle (sometimes literally) to get to the finish line.

READ MORE: Marathon Foot Health

Intense competitive races can be 6+ miles long and feature over 50 obstacles. More relaxed, family-friendly events are often 5K and have 35 or fewer obstacles. While these events have reinvigorated people to join races, they pose more risks for your feet than a traditional running race. Being prepared and getting through the obstructions safely requires some pre-knowledge of what you’ll encounter and the dangers they pose.

NETTING—Many races feature cargo net climbs, swivel ladder climbs, rope ladder climbs, net climbs over ravines and other rope-related challenges. Netting can pose a risk for your feet if you get tangled. Slipping from your foothold and becoming caught can lead to twisted ankles and rope abrasions. Wear high socks to protect your ankles and take care during your climbs.

WATER/MUD—if your race involves water or mud obstacles, you could be dealing with wet and dirty socks and shoes for the rest of the race or if you didn’t plan ahead, the rest of the day. Bring something to change into and be sure to wash and dry your shoes thoroughly after the run.

JUMPING—It wouldn’t be a challenge run if there weren’t a wall or two to get over. These classic obstacles often require a straight drop of up to 20’ which can mean major damage to your feet. Jumping upwards puts a strain on your ankle and Achilles tendon, leaving you open to the possibility of an Achille tendon rupture. Jumping down can be a large shock to your bones and cause a fracture.

RUNNING—In general, all the normal dangers that apply to running and exercise apply to these races as well. Shin splints are the number one reason runners stop running, and your risk increases with the uneven terrain of obstacle races. Be sure to wear proper supportive footwear and only exercise up to the level that you have trained. Pushing yourself too hard, too fast can lead to pain and injury.

READ MORE: What Are Shin Splints?

With everything from military crawls to running up a 10-foot sloped wall to monkey bars to cliff jumps to carrying heavy objects (logs, stones, etc.) to jumping over fire, Weekend Warrior races give everyone the chance to be their own superhero. If you’re looking for a fun activity to get yourself moving this summer, join an obstacle race. Just be sure to take care of your feet!



This past Monday, the 119th Boston Marathon raced through the streets. Over 54,000 people lined up to run the 26.2-mile course. A lot of people wonder what on earth could possess someone to want to do that. 26.2-miles of pounding the pavement must wreak havoc on the legs and feet. So what really does happen to your feet during a marathon?

Before you even start your marathon training, you should go see your podiatrist. They have all the information you could want about what happens to your feet as you are running. They can also help you understand your own foot anatomy or problems and help you choose the perfect pair of running shoes. You need to understand how your foot strikes the ground, what to keep an eye out for if you develop problems, and how to avoid those problems all together.

According to, after the knee, the foot is the most injured part of the body. These injuries can be anything from a simple blister to a painful fracture. Don’t worry, blisters are a much more common problem than any other, so don’t use the possibility of a stress fracture as an excuse not to run. “The most common locations for blisters are the sides of the heel, the sides or bottoms of the toes, and the arch of the foot. ‘Hot spots’ are areas on your foot that become warm and painful during or after long runs and may or may not develop into blisters.”

It’s important to understand that places where you develop blisters during a short run may be different than the places where you develop blisters on a long run. Right around the mid point of the marathon, the energy you loaded up with before the race begins to lag. Your legs feel the burn of the miles they have gone through and as a result of you’re your fatigue, your pace and stride change. Any change in your stride will change the stress points of your feet and thus change the ‘hot spots’. This can result in blisters developing in places they normally wouldn’t.

So what is the best way you have your foot strike the ground? “Most of the tenets of good running form are universally agreed upon by coaches, athletes, physiologists, form gurus and shoe designers: an upright postural alignment with a slight forward tilt, a compact arm swing and short strides that result in a cadence of 180 steps per minute.” But when it comes to where and how your foot strikes the ground, there are pros and cons to each style. The important thing is to find what works for you. Over-striding is a common problem with new runners. They extend their legs too far which results in a forceful heel strike and you end up doing more work across the same distance and time.

A mid-foot strike is thought by many to be the ideal gait, but for some, altering your running stride to achieve this, can mean under-striding for those with longer legs. This is equally bad. In the end, it’s all about finding what is right for your feet and legs. Make sure that your stride feels natural. If you end up with severe foot pain after running, you are doing something wrong and it would be best to alter your stride.

Another common problem with marathon runners is the recovery. Don’t just collapse as soon as you cross the finish line. Keep moving for 10 or 20 minutes and avoid standing still. Change into a pair of graduated compression socks to help promote blood flow. Later that day, elevate your legs for 10- 15 minutes to reduce inflammation. Over the next couple of weeks, don’t force yourself to continue heavy training. Short walks or jogs (1 – 2 miles) are ok, but if your feet start protesting, put off resuming your running for a couple more days.

When they say anyone can run a marathon, they mean it. But it’s important to listen to your feet and your podiatrist to ensure proper foot health all the way from the first day of training to weeks after the marathon.

Let’s look back to March 31st, 2013. The “Elite Eight” game between the Louisville Cardinals and Duke University had six and a half minutes left in the first half. “It came on such a seemingly innocuous play. Kevin Ware was running toward the perimeter to close out on a 3-point shot from Duke’s Tyler Thornton with 6:33 left in the half. He jumped to challenge the shot, and while in the air, turned back to see the play. He then landed on his right leg, which kept going toward the bench while the rest of his body stopped. The leg snapped.” ( 

Ware suffered a compound fracture, a break severe enough to extrude through the skin. The video is gruesome and many players and fans couldn’t handle seeing the stomach wrenching injury. I don’t recommend watching it if you are squeamish, but here is the link:  With over two hours of surgery and a rod installed through the right tibia, Ware’s leg was reset. He now faced months of recovery time and physical therapy.

Fast forward to August 1st, 2014. During a U.S. national team scrimmage match, Paul George jumped to block a shot from right under the basket. He came down with his foot against the stanchion and the unthinkable happened; his leg snapped. Again, this video is not the most pleasant and should only be watched with discretion: (the slow motion view happens around the 1:00 mark.) George suffered a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula bones. He was rushed to the hospital and into surgery. Like Ware, his leg was reset with a metal rod for support. Also like Ware, George faced months of recovery time and physical therapy.

Compound fractures like these are not common sports injuries, but they certainly are gruesome. In fact, these types of fractures are usually only found in severe car and motorcycle accidents or falls from significant heights. The real question on everyone’s mind was how the heck did this happen? Sure, Ware’s leg might have simply succumbed to the power of torque and perhaps the stanchion and angle of the landing were to blame for George’s fractures. But how common are these injuries and how can athletes protect themselves from the same fate?

One contributing cause could be the presence of a prior stress fracture. With the constant running, jumping, and landing during a basketball game, players’ bones are getting a constant beating. Now multiply that same pressure extended out over a whole season and a stress fracture is not an unlikely injury. Remember, any pain is unnatural. If a player feels throbbing or shooting pain with exercise, they need to be examined for stress fractures, especially if the pain subsides with rest and then reoccurs. Treating these micro fractures can help prevent a more serious injury like the compound fractures of these two players.

The Ohio State basketball team is screened at the beginning of every season for vitamin D, calcium, and other nutrient deficiencies. Vitamin D and calcium may be the single most important factors in bone strength. People who live in sunny climates and spend time outdoors can absorb almost all the vitamin D they need directly from the sun.

However, many athletes can find themselves deficient from the hours upon hours of indoor practicing. Midwestern and Northeastern teams are at particular rick due to the weather patterns that keep us indoors for a good portion of the year. (Hmmm, does it seem like a coincidence that Ware played for Kentucky and George played for Indiana?) Calcium comes from the foods we eat, but if we aren’t eating the right food, we could find ourselves with weakening bones from calcium deficiency. Even if we are getting enough calcium, if we lack vitamin D, then our bodies won’t absorb calcium as efficiently.

It should be clear by now that a healthy diet is as important to injury prevention as proper training and proper medical care are. If you play sports or have a sports player in your home, make sure they are taking in essential nutrients, including supplemental vitamin D and make sure that they aren’t ignoring the warning signs of a minor injury that could lead to something bigger. Should you expect as dramatic an injury as Kevin Ware and Paul George suffered? Well, no, but it wouldn’t hurt to drink a few glasses of milk and go see your podiatrist if you suspect injury.