Today on the Doc on the Run podcast, we’re talking about whether or not you should run on a treadmill when you’re recovering from a stress fracture.
Today I was doing a webinar entitled, “Am I Ready to Run?” And the whole point of the webinar was to help runners like you figure out when you have an injury, what you should do in each of these phases of transition: when you think you have stopped recovering, when you feel like you’re already recovered and you think you’re done healing, and you think you’re ready to run, and then you’re going to start running outside.
What do you do? How do you make sure you don’t get re-injured? How do you make sure you don’t exacerbate the injury and prevent it from healing further? How do you make sure you don’t get a different injury because you’re compensating? How do you test those things and figure it out? Well, that’s what I was talking about during the live webinar.
But at the end of the session, one of the attendees, Gordon, actually asked a question and he said, “Should I run on a treadmill if I have a stress fracture and I’m recovering from a stress fracture?” Because he’s concerned that he’s heard that the stress fractures can be exacerbated or even caused by running on treadmills because you have this same repetitive force that happens over and over and over.
What I thought I would do is just give you the answer I gave to Gordon, because, and the reason I’m doing this is that Gordon signed up for the webinar. He was there, he attended, but we went kind of long and he had to get off and actually wrote in the chat box that he had to get off the call because he had something else he had to take care of. Well, I totally understand that, but I do appreciate him being there. I do appreciate all of you who listen. And I just wanted to try to make sure that he got his answer as fully as possible, but also thought it might help you.
Here’s my answer to Gordon’s question as presented during the live web. Well, let’s see, next question was from Gordon. All right….
My question is, “Is it okay to run on a treadmill? I’m returning from a stress fracture injury. I read that a treadmill gives the exact same stress with every step versus say a trail, but with COVID-19 and smoke, running outside is a challenge and all that.” Yes. Gordon, that is a great question. Yes, stress fractures, there’s a lot of evidence that treadmills cause the same repetitive stress in the same way. That is definitely true.
However, it’s true, like in California, if you have a treadmill, that’s a lot better than not running at all. Right now there are lots of fires. I did not run at all the last several days because there’s been fires and it’s not good for you to run in the smoke. I don’t. I really want to. I almost ran yesterday because the air was a little better, but I thought this is still a stupid thing to do. I try my best to not do stupid things, right? Yes, it is true that running on a treadmill is worse, but what are you going to do?
Again, what you do can change things. If you run at a different pace on the treadmill, if you alter your pace, you will alter the forces to the metatarsal. Your foot will land differently when you run at different paces. The speed matters. I actually, the worst I ever felt in a race was where I ran a marathon really slow with a couple of people who were slower than me. Worst pain I ever had in a marathon because I was not used to running a long distance at that pace. At one point I literally stopped to use one of the porta-cans. They went ahead and I said, I’ll catch up with you. I ran almost two minutes a mile faster for that section.
And although it started at about 20 miles and went till about mile 23, that was the best I felt in the entire race because I was running at a much different pace, applying stresses to different tissues that I had not been stressing for the last 20 miles. If you’re on a treadmill, one of the keys is to try to alter things. You can either increase or decrease the height on the treadmill. You can increase the speed and slow down the speed. You can do it in way like you would on mile repeats on a track or something where you’re running faster and then you take a break or you can just alter your speed altogether.
But those alterations will alter the forces. And that actually does really help. Okay, Gordon again, thanks for asking your question. Hopefully that helps for all of you out there listening. Occasionally I do these live webinars and for anybody like you, who has a specific question on an injury and really wants a topic explained, and you want to be able to answer specific questions about your certain circumstances in regards to these kinds of topics about how you get back to running, how you heal these injuries, how you make sure you’re not going to re-injure it, I’ll be happy to do these webinars. Send your topics to me and then make sure you join at the next live webinars so you can get your questions answered too.
If you enjoyed this episode, please do a huge favor for me. I don’t charge for these things, obviously. I spend a lot of time and money putting them together for you to try to help you. But the whole point is to help as many injured runners as possible get better and get back to running without re-injury. Please do a favor for me if you enjoy the show, just take a screenshot of this episode, post it on social media or go to iTunes and rate and review the podcast and leave us an honest review. I’d truly appreciate it. Thanks so much for listening.
Metatarsal Stress Fracture Rapid Recovery For Runners
If you have a stress fracture, you’re probably really freaked out right now and think you’re going to lose all of your fitness while you heal. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I teach doctors how to help runners heal and maintain running fitness.
If your doc said “Stop Running!” You don’t have to stop running. You just have to reduce the stress to the injured bone so it can heal. You just have to be thoughtful about how you maintain your running fitness so you can keep healing.
Run without making it worse. The worst thing you can do is sit still, stop exercising and lose all of your running fitness. It is possible to maintain your running fitness while you heal your metatarsal stress fracture. This course shows how.
Enroll in the Metatarsal Stress Fracture Course now!
If you have a stress fracture
You’re probably really freaked out right now and think you’re going to lose all of your fitness while you heal. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I teach doctors how to help runners heal and maintain running fitness.
If your doc said “Stop Running”
You don’t have to stop running. You just have to reduce the stress to the injured bone so it can heal. You just have to be thoughtful about how you maintain your running fitness so you can keep healing.
Run without making it worse
The worst thing you can do is sit still, stop exercising and lose all of your running fitness. It is possible to maintain your running fitness while you heal your metatarsal stress fracture. This course shows how.
Enroll in the Metatarsal Stress Fracture Course now!
If you have a question that you would like answered as a future edition of the Doc On The Run Podcast, send it to me. And then make sure you join me in the next edition of the Doc On The Run Podcast.