How Athletes Can Prevent Spinal Stress Fractures

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 30, 2018

Athletes Spinal Stress Fractures

Stress fractures may be more common in your legs and feet, but they can also develop in your spine. These types of injuries occur as a result of repetitive stress and overuse, so it’s easy to see why they are more common in athletes. These stress fractures develop as a partial fracture in the outer surface of the vertebrae, and left untreated, they can progress to a total fracture through the bone.

As the name implies, stress fractures of the spine are caused by excess stress and pressure, but athletes need to push themselves physically in order to get stronger and faster, so how can they strike a good balance between pushing the limits and avoiding injury? We share some tips for preventing stress fractures if you’re an athlete in today’s blog.

Tips For Preventing Spine Stress Fractures During Sports

Preventing the onset of spinal stress fractures involves making some strategic adjustments to your overall exercise and athletic performance. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay in good athletic conditioning during the offseason.
  • Slowly increase your hours of participation in sports. This means that you need to begin conditioning and training programs well before the first day of practice or tryouts.
  • Gradually increase high impact or high energy activities that can contribute to spinal stress fractures over time (running, jumping, pitching, serving, blocking, spiking, etc.)
  • Take at least one or two days off from sports activity per week, and ideally, you’ll take several weeks off during the offseason.
  • If you’re dead set on playing sports year round, participate in more than one sport so that different muscle groups get worked and your spine isn’t tasked with the same movements year-round.
  • If you’re going to play the same sport year-round, be sure to work in some cross training so a variety of structures get tested and strengthened.
  • When training, focus on improving flexibility in your hamstrings and hip flexors, as well as good core and abdominal strength, as these structures will help to support your spine.

Finally, if you suspect that you’re dealing with a spinal stress fracture or another painful spine injury, the best thing you can do is to contact a spinal specialist like Dr. Sinicropi. He will be able to conduct an exam and diagnose your condition with the help of a variety of different imaging techniques. From there, he will go to work developing a care plan that will help your spine heal and get you back out on the field. For more information on how he can do this, contact his office today.

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