According to the Mayo Clinic, stress fractures are caused by the repetitive application of a great amount of force than the bones of your feet and lower legs can normally bear. Stress fractures aren’t unheard of in guard, but they also aren’t exactly run-of-the-mill. We want to give you all the information possible, because like most conditions, if left untreated stress fractures can get worse.

Symptoms

Stress fractures are tricky. At first they may not hurt, and only be a bit tender. However, as time goes on, the pain could increase. There may also be swelling around the pain.

If that pain become severe or is even present at rest, get to a doctor.

Risk Factors

Just so you guys all know where I’m coming from, I’m going to list the risk factors.

  •         CERTAIN SPORTS
    • Does your band instructor want you to run across the field in 16 counts? Are you practicing that one set over and over? Doesn’t that sound like track and field? Track and field members are more likely to develop stress fractures
  •         INCREASED ACTIVITY
    • Are you mostly sedentary during the summer, but when band camp comes, you’re now all active? That also increases your risk of stress fractures. Try to keep active, even in the off season
  •         FOOT PROBLEMS
    • Our flat footed friends and high arched amigos are more likely to develop stress fractures
  •         WEAKENED BONES

Why Does This Matter?

Stress fractures are little, and you figure that they’ll heal and the pain will go away. No. Even little fractures can heal incorrectly. If your bones heal in a weird way, this could put you in a lot of pain all the time. Not only that, but your bones could break again if they heal weird.

Treatment

You guys aren’t going to like this. Treatment is a walking boot or brace or crutches. Sometimes you’ll need surgery. If you are in a boot or brace, here are some tips to help you heal

  •         REST: stay off that limb and don’t push yourself
  •         ICE: this is to reduce swelling and relieve pain
  •         RESUME ACTIVITY SLOWLY: when the doctor says you’re good to go, start up slowly

All in all, stress fractures suck… but we want you to get safely back on your feet.

Prevention

  •         ADD NEW EXERCISES SLOWLY: don’t jump all into something – build up your strength first!
  •         USE PROPER FOOTWEAR: wear shoes that fit, and if you have foot problems, talk to your doctor about getting the right support
  •         CROSS-TRAIN: this might be hard for marching band and colorguard, but trying adding low-impact activities on your days off marching band to avoid stressing a particular part of your body
  •         GET PROPER NUTRITION: Calcium is good. Nutrients are good. So are vitamins. EAT THEM PLEASE. Milk, multivitamin, whatever you need to do to get the building blocks for your body DO IT.

Stay safe ladies and gentlemen! Let’s all give a hand to the lovely Mayo Clinic who once again provided us all with top notch information! I hope to see you in competition!  

Written by Claire Delaney