Can I still run after I heal of fibular stress fracture? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
Today’s episode actually comes from a question that I had on one of the YouTube videos where I was talking about fibular stress fractures. In case you don’t know, you got two bones in your ankle that go up to your leg. So, you have the tibia or the shinbone that goes all the way up to your knee. Your knee sits on top of that and then the tibia sits on top of the talus basically on the top of your foot.
The tibia is the bone that really takes the pressure from your knee and redistributes it to your foot. The fibula bone is a stabilizing bone on the outside of your leg, it is not a weight bearing bone and that it really does not hold a lot of vertical force.
In fact, when I was in med school, one of the anatomy instructors told us repeatedly, he always said the fibula is a useless bone because it doesn’t hold anything up. And his argument was that you can basically function just fine without a fibula.
A lot of foot and ankle surgeons probably disagree with that statement. I’m not going to argue with him about this. But the thing is, the fibula does do something, but it has a lot of muscles that attach to it. It actually sits on the outside of your foot and actually kind of moves apart as your foot moves up and down because the front of the talus is a wedge that basically pushes those bones apart as it moves up and down. But it’s not a weight bearing load.
You can get a stress fracture in the tibia for lots of reasons. The main one is axial loading, you’re pushing down on it and it pounds it so much that it actually cracks. The fibula doesn’t get stress fractures that way really because it’s not vertical loading. It’s muscles pulling and tugging on the bone or pushing up against it from the side from over pronation that cause that stress fracture.
But can you run afterward? Well, the short answer is yes and the reason I know that for sure, is that I actually had a consultation call with a woman recently who did not have a fibula on that side. They had taken out a section of the fibula to replace another bone to do a transplant in her own body. And hopefully I’ll be able to get her as guest on the podcast sometime to talk about that. But she’s been running marathons and qualified for Boston for many, many, many years without a fibula bone and all.
So, that implies that if you get a stress fracture in your fibula, you can calm it down and let it heal, and then you begin running again and you figure out what you were doing to cause that stress fracture in the first place and you stop doing it, you should be able to run just fine for a long, long time without worry.
I hope this episode helps you. If you like it, please share it, please subscribe. Please share it with a runner who needs to hear it and I’ll see you in the next training.