This is a xray of my foot

Dealing with Bone Injuries

As a runner it can be difficult to admit when we need to take a break. If you follow me on Strava or Garmin Connect, you may have noticed I haven’t been running much lately. I hurt my foot  waterskiing on August 12th and it is still bothering me almost 2 months later!

Immediately after my waterskiing accident, I could barely walk . Rather than simply taking several weeks off, I continued to run for about 2 weeks – big mistake.

Eventually, I realized it was something serious and went to an Orthopedist to get an X-ray. You can see the X-ray – nothing looked broken. When I asked the doctor if he’d be able to see a stress fracture or bone bruise, he said, “of course”. A quick search on google, however, told me otherwise. X-rays are basically useless for diagnosing small bone injuries such as stress fractures or bone bruises. Diagnosing these requires more advanced imaging techniques.

Treatment

I was able to pinpoint the pain to a marble sized spot on my fourth metatarsal.  The treatment for a stress fracture or bone bruise is simply to immobilize the area and eliminate excessive force on the bone for 4-6 weeks. Rather than wasting more money on an expensive bone scan or MRI, I’ve simply chosen the treatment for a stress fracture and ordered a post-op shoe – on Amazon for around $15.

I ordered the dreaded post-op shoe on Amazon and wore it for 3 weeks. Hey, I thought, everything feels better, maybe I should go for a run! I put on my new TOPO RUNDURO shoes and ran 2 miles. It felt great! The next day I decided to run 5 miles, probably more than I should’ve. Things fell apart on the 3rd day when I decided to slip on my Vibram Bikila’s and go for a 1 mile time trial. Big mistake.  After that, my foot felt like it was back to square one.

Nutrition

When it comes to nutrition, I follow the Perfect Health Diet, which prescribes a whole foods diet based on paleo type foods.  But, I want to make sure I am doing everything possible to provide my body with essential bone building materials. The author of the Perfect Health Diet, Paul Jaminet, advocates supplementing with the following four nutrients for bone health – vitamins C, D, and K2, and magnesium.

In addition, the diet calls for regularly supplementing with bone broth 3 days a week. Bone broth contains an abundance of nutrients not commonly found in modern diets. As you cook the bones, phosphorous, collagen and other nutrients leach out and get incorporated into the stock.

Since I find making bone broth a tedious task, I’ve been supplementing with collagen from YouTheory and grass fed hydrolyzed collagen from Great Lakes. For K2 and D I’ve been using a dropper by Thorne Research. K2 is essential for bone health and I’ve found that using a dropper makes it easy to take, 10 drops contain 5,000 IU vitamin D3 and 1 mg vitamin K2. As far as calcium, I continue to eat foods like grass fed yogurt, kefir, and even whole milk.

Don’t run

It can be difficult to convince yourself to stop running. I rationalized going out for a run, thinking that 3 weeks would have been enough time to heal and then tested my fitness with a time trial. If you’re dealing with a bone injury, don’t be like me! Let your body heal, then gradually get back into running with some light jogging or walking.

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Aaron

Paleo lifestyle enthusiast, Minimalist runner

5 thoughts on “Dealing with Bone Injuries”

  1. I took 2 months off when I had a stress fracture (this was after trying to take a couple weeks off). I thought it was healed and it wasn’t. Biked a lot while I didn’t run. It wasn’t fun. Hope things are getting better for you!

  2. I was recently diagnosed with a stress fracture of the femoral neck on my right leg. It was odd when symptoms first came about, so I took a few days off and ran a short 4 miles a few days later. I felt fine during, but after wasn’t so great. I started doing some rehab exercises I knew from past injuries and wasn’t getting better. I had stopped running and decided to start doing Crossfit style workouts until I finally got into my dr and found out about the fracture. Needless to say I haven’t ran since mid-August and won’t be able to even start until after January (hopefully!) My dr has cleared me to continue training, minus the running. I have been able to control the urge to run from past injury mistakes and letting it heal right. I know that on the other side I will be stronger and fast than I was. Can’t wait to hear when you start running again!

      1. Welcome! I guess years of injuries, at least one per year has taught me that I need to be patient and listen to what my body is telling me. If I would have continued running I’m sure it would have been worse and with surgery. I will let you know when I get to start! I am looking forward to it.

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