How frustrating would it be to pass the military entrance exam and physical tests only to suffer from a stress fracture during training and have to go home?
Not your best day, right? Well, the military agrees with you. In fact, the military have to eat about $34,000 per person when a recruit has to go home because of an injury. So, several military studies have focused on how to prevent stress fractures.
What are Stress Fractures?
A stress fracture is an overuse injury which presents itself as tiny cracks in the bone. In athletes, it’s most often found in the lower, weight bearing bones of the legs and foot. Pain and swelling are usually your first indication of a stress fracture. X-rays are used to confirm the condition.
It’s been estimated that 40% of men and 60% of women that suffer a stress fracture cannot complete their training. So, before packing your bags for military bootcamp it’s good to know:
- What are stress fractures
- What causes stress fractures
- How do I know if I have a stress fracture
- How to prevent stress fractures
What Causes Stress Fractures?
Not including conditions such as osteoporosis, stress fractures during military physical training are often the result of “bone fatigue”. Repetitive motions such as running or jumping increase the likelihood of getting a stress fracture.
During intense and sudden training, you’re increasing the amount of force on your bones beyond what’s normal for you. Without adequate recovery time between training, such as during an 8-week military bootcamp, your bone doesn’t have enough time to recover.
Now before the detail police come in and say the training increases bone density and makes them stronger…give me a minute to explain.
It’s true. Normal physical training actually has a positive effect on the strength of your bones. It makes them stronger. However, if you are not properly preconditioned when entering military physical training you could have some problems.
Also, if you lack the proper nutritional balance to support bone growth with supplements of Vitamin D3, Vitamin K and Calcium, then you may not be prepared for the extra physical demands you face during military training.
Lack of adequate Vitamin D3 has been of special interest to the military (and we’ll talk more about this in an upcoming article for military women).
This vitamin is the only one that is created with the sun; however, our modern lifestyle and use of sunscreens have contributed to the increase of Vitamin D deficiency in many people. In fact, a recent study of female recruits showed that those who were not supplemented with Vitamin D during military training in the winter months lost overall levels of the vitamin in their system making them more susceptible to stress fractures.
All Military Grade Nutritional supplements are formulated with the special needs of the military and extreme athletes in mind. The science team behind the Multipurpose Daily has included Vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol.
Why? Because Vitamin D3 is one of the most useful nutritional tools we have at our disposal for improving overall health. And we are finding out more about this Vitamin every day.
Vitamin D is unique because cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) is a vitamin derived from 7-dehyrocholesterol; however, Vitamin D3 acquires hormone-like actions when cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) is converted to 1,25-dihydroxy Vitamin D3 (Calcitriol) by the liver and kidneys.
As a hormone, Calcitriol controls phosphorus, calcium, and bone metabolism and neuromuscular function. Fortifying your body with Vitamin D before taking on the heavier demands of military physical training can stack the odds in your favor for avoiding stress fractures.
How Do I Know If I Have a Stress Fracture?
- Tenderness in a specific spot
- Increased swelling and pain with activity
- Decreased swelling and pain with rest
- Earlier onset of pain with each successive workout
- Continued pain at rest as the damage progresses
How to Prevent Stress Fractures?
Prevention is the key to success. In overall health to ward off chronic illness, and with preventing stress fractures.
And, it starts with the right balance of nutritional foods and supplementation. You need adequate calcium to maintain strong bones. That’s a well-established fact. However, it takes more than milk to build strong bones.
You should avoid foods that weaken your bones like carbonated beverages. And you should increase the intake of foods that add calcium. You don’t have to limit those choices to dairy product. You can get plenty of calcium from dark leafy greens such as Kale and broccoli.
Most people don’t know that you can lose calcium through sweat. And since you’re bound to sweat a little bit when you’re getting in shape for training you have to replenish what you lose so that your body doesn’t draw what it needs from your bone.
Consider the best dietary supplements that supply you with the right balance of Calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K to keep your bones strong.
These nutritional supplements keep the calcium in your bones and out of your heart, soft tissues, brain and cardiovascular system where it can do real damage as the result of salt build-ups and plaque.
Make lifestyle choices that support your military training goals. The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research identified the following factors in female Navy recruits as risks factures for stress fractures:
- Age (over 25 had a higher risk)
- Amenorrhea during Military Physical training (risk was 91% higher than those with one or more menstrual periods during training)
- Run time for 1 ½ miles upon entering military bootcamp (the less time it took to run this distance, the greater level of entry fitness, and the lower the risk of stress fractures during bootcamp)
- History of smoking (higher risk for smokers)
- Participation in regular weight-bearing exercise before entering military bootcamp training (lower risk of stress fractures for those that entered military physical training with an established exercise routine)
- Depo use (a particular brand of contraceptive, showed a higher stress fracture risk for women)
Now, if you have any of these risk factors, there is good news coming from that same bone mineral study of Navy recruits. The supplementation of Calcium and Vitamin D actually lowered the probability of getting a stress fracture during military physical training despite any of these pre-existing risk factors.
So…do you think that fortifying your body with the best dietary supplements, workouts, and foods before military training is a good idea for success?
Are You Ready for Peak Performance and Ultimate Fitness?
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Resources for Preventing Stress Fractures: