In that sudden urgent desire to seek a figure like Kareena Kapoor or Deepika Padukone, you decided to go for intensive workout. Instead of your routine 20 minutes brisk walk three days a week, you opted to run for one-hour every day.

Superb it seemed initially but after the first few weeks, you began to experience an unbearable pain in your feet. This may be an overuse injury called stress fracture. Learn the best way to avoid stress injury without compromising on your physical exercise.

When there is a sudden increase in physical exercise, the muscles of the body get exhausted and they are unable to absorb shock.

The excessive stress is passed onto the bones which began to crack. As the name goes stress fracture means breaking of bones due to extreme pressure or usage of muscles. This is different from traumatic fracture which occurs due to the significant amount of impact on a particular bone for example in a car accident or abrupt fall.

In case of stress fracture, there is a small or moderate amount of pressure that is applied on a particular bone for a longer period of time. When this happens, the bone becomes weak before it ultimately breaks.

The reason for the occurrence of stress fracture vary from one person to another but the underlying cause is the same –a sudden and rapid increase in the amount or intensity of  physical activity. A substantial increase in the playing or practice time by a sportsperson, running on a rough surface and wearing wrong shoes or heels – all lead to stress fractures.

It has also very commonly found among younger women who extensively do high-impact exercises in gym. Foot, ankle and lower leg are more prone to bearing high stress. You know something as trivial as tight stiff shoes when worn continuously for a long period time may also lead to stress fracture and a foot deformity. Sometimes, there is no pain in relaxing position but only when you make any movement it hurts.

If you have recently changed your activity routine and are experiencing continuous or recurrent pain at a specific part, then you should consult a doctor to confirm whether it’s a stress fracture.

For most people, pain goes away after taking adequate rest, keeping their leg in elevated position and stopping exercise for few days.

There are ways in which you can prevent stress fractures. Always warm up and stretch before any type of activity. If you want to start an intensive exercise, do so under the guidance of a trainer who’ll create a schedule that gradually increases the intensity of workout.

Cross-training is a more sustainable way to burn calories for example, alternate between cycling, swimming, gym and jogging. This way you don’t put pressure on the same muscle every time. If you still experience, pain and swelling stop the activity immediately and ease back gradually only when the symptoms go away.

Always remember ‘Too much too fast’ will lead to stress fracture so go slow!

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