Monday, March 12, 2007
Can Stress Fractures be Prevented with Calcium/Vitamin D Supplementation
Stress fractures are tiny cracks which occur in the bones as a result of overuse or increased physical activity. These painful fractures usually occur in the lower extremities-the feet and the shin bones. They are are more common in women athletes.
A recent study looked at more than 5000 female U.S. Navy recruits, 17 to 35 years old during their eight weeks of training, and concluded that vitamin D and calcium supplementation may prevent stress fractures even when taken for a short duration of time.
The women were divided into 2 groups. One group received vitamin D 800 IU (international units) plus 2000mg calcium on a daily basis, and the other group received placebo pills. The group that received the supplements had 25 percent less incidence of stress fractures.
More research needs to be done to see if the results of this study can have further implications for athletes and the weekend warriors who exercise intermittently. Meanwhile other preventive measures include proper equipment and supportive shoes, increasing any exercise program gradually, and cross training to prevent repetitive stress injury.
References: please see specific links.
Photos: courtesy of Brigham and Women's Hospital.