Rehabilitation and return to running after lower limb stress fractures.
According to some reports, in 2012 there were 29.4 million people who ran at least 50 days during the year in North America alone. With so many participants, there are bound to be certain injury patterns that emerge. One certain type of injury, lower limb stress fractures, are common in runners and the authors of this study reviewed articles to come up with guidelines for rehabilitation and return to running after this type of injury.
Generally rehabilitation after this type of injury is a two-phase protocol with part one being rest and pain management along with cross-training and part two being about a progressive return to running. During phase 1, cross-training is very important to maintain cardiovascular fitness. Deep water running (DWR) and Antigravity treadmill training (ATT) are two sport-specific cross-training methods that have found to be effective in rehabilitating runners with lower limb injuries.
DWR involves running in shoulder deep water without touching the bottom, while ATT involves running on a treadmill that surrounds the lower body with an air-filled chamber that can simulate weightlessness. Once Patients are consistently pain free with ambulation and cross-training for at least 2 weeks, land-based running protocols can begin. > From: Liem et al. Curr Sports Med Rep. 12 (2013) 200-207. All rights reserved to the American College of Sports Medicine.
The Pubmed summary of the article can be found here.