Recovering from stress fracture

edited May 2013 in Running Injuries
I was training for my second marathon a month ago. I had been wearing inserts in my shoes for six years due to plantar fasciitis way back in 2007. I was reading Tread Lightly and I wanted to transition to a more minimalist approach after the marathon. I had a new pair of GoRun2 waiting for me. In the mean time, I foolishly convinced myself that merely removing the inserts from my existing shoes wasn't going too far as I felt great without them. All of my previous knee pain disappeared. Then, one week before the taper I ran too fast and too far without the inserts and ended up with a stress fracture in the anke area. Three weeks in a boot and one missed marathon later the Dr has told me to start walking and to "let the pain be my guide." I haven't tried to do more than walk around the house and I only feel a dull ache in the ankle.

My questions are: 1) How long should I wait before starting to run? 2) Should I go forward with the transition or go back to highly cushioned shoes? 3) Should I even deam of running a marathon in the fall?


  • I have similar history/background and if you want any more info on what I've specifically done let me know.  To answer your questions with my (humble) opinion:

    1) How Long - with my stress fracture (foot not ankle though) I waited 9 weeks and then used a back from injury training plan
    2) Transition y/n - I think you knew where you went wrong (too much too soon) - I say take a more conservative approach and transition slowly. I had a few blips in my transition as well even when I thought I was transitioning slowly.  You may need to focus on other work - core work - adductor/hip work to strengthen (this has been KEY for me)
    3) Marathon in the fall?  Focus on transitioning slowly and see how it goes, perhaps a 1/2 marathon is a good start/goal.
  • Thanks, kagule, for the feedback. All of your answers seem to follow my own intuition. When you say 9 weeks, should I be thinking 9 weeks from time of injury, or starting from today when I get the boot off? I've read a "back from injury" plan and it basically told me that if I can walk briskly for an hour without pain I can try a little running. There is a 1/2 I'd like to run in September, so that may be a more reasonable goal. 
  • nine weeks from the time of the injury (I've heard of some people starting sooner).  I did a search online and found a sample plan to follow (keeping me honest and in check) I just googled and found it:  

    Good luck!
  • Hey, that's the one I was talking about. Thanks.
  • Sorry to hear about the fracture. Were you running in the GoRun2's or just your usual shoes without the inserts?

    I typically hear a minimum of 6 weeks off running for a stress fracture. My guess is that when you took the inserts out the ankle was working in a different way and combined with the mileage of a marathon buildup the bone wasn't able to compensate and strengthen quickly enough. Transitioning cold turkey is risky, what you could do if you want to go without inserts (and sounds like doing so helped your knees) is run a few runs per week with them and a few without and slowly wean away. Once you are comfortable running without inserts in your usual shoes, you can then decide if you want to make a shoe change. One change at a time is wise!

    As for Fall, you might be able to make a marathon buildup if your intent isn't to race it fast and recovery goes well. Half marathon might be the safer choice. 
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