#813 What is better than NSAIDS for a stress fracture in a runner? - DOC

#813 What is better than NSAIDS for a stress fracture in a runner?

What’s better to take than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for a stress fracture in a runner? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.



Things like Ibuprofen and Naproxen, what we call non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs for short, these are extremely popular medications for runners because they get rid of lots of aches and pains. We often think you have inflammation when you run a trail so maybe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory will actually help.

Well, sometimes yes, and sometimes no. But there are a couple of things that I would recommend people take other than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and I don’t normally recommend runners take them. The main reason for that is there is some research that shows that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, not all of them, but some of them can actually show a slowdown the healing of the interface between tendons where they attach to bones.

At its base, when you have an injury, a stress or strain injury like an overtraining injury when you’re running, even if it’s a stress fracture, you’re trying to get collagen to actually heal and stabilize that injured piece and get it to stay still. So, I am concerned of the possibility that those drugs might slow down that process. So, that’s reason number one.

If you had pain early on, and you’re trying to just get rid of the pain, but you’re not taking the medication to actually get your pain low enough so that you can run without pain. Well, I might suggest that you take a different pain reliever like acetaminophen, but only initially when you really have pain and really not at all when you’re trying to actually exercise because that’s a huge mistake, because you make it more difficult to track your pain and tracking your pain is the most useful thing. And also, frankly, the thing that’s done the least frequently by runners who call me and are not getting better.

So, that’s the first thing is something better than NSAIDs. Yeah, I would say acetaminophen number one. Number two is collagen and vitamin C, that combination can actually help speed up that process that I think we’re talking about where you have to have collagen attaching to a bone or collagen within a tendon or a ligament or something that’s trying to heal.

The other is calcium and vitamin D. If you have a bone injury, if you have a stress fracture, stress reaction and it’s trying to rebuild the bone, it just stands to reason that taking the things like vitamin D, and calcium that are needed to repair bones might be more helpful than something like a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

Those are some things to think about. Things to think about with your doctor and discuss with your doctor because I’m not your doctor. I’m just trying to give you some information the way I think about it. If you want to know more about how I think about stress fractures and approach them with the runners who call me for second opinions, you can go through the stress fracture masterclass, it’s a deep dive and all these topics specific for runners who want to run. You can get it for free at www.docontherun.com/stressfracturemasterclass. Go check it out, and I’ll see you in the training.