Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Should I take Calcium if I have a Stress Fracture in my Foot? San Francisco's Running Doc Explains
If you are running and get a stress fracture, you likely want that bone to heal as quickly as possible. When you break a bone in the foot, the bone has to heal just like any other injury. Although calcium is the mineral that makes bones strong and visible on x-rays, it is not the only factor in bone healing. For this reason it is particularly important to make sure that you eat a healthy well-balanced diet when you are healing a stress fracture in the foot.
We know that your body needs many different nutrients to heal a stress fracture. For example, vitamin K is important in the clotting process right after a bone breaks. Vitamin C is essential to collagen formation that is an early step in the formation of soft bone callus that precedes the deposition of calcium where the bone broke. Calcium gets laid down in the repair of the fracture, but supplemental calcium won't be absorbed well without Vitamin D. Lysine is an amino acid that helps you incorporate calcium into the bony matrix as the fracture heals.
The medical literature is conflicting about whether or not supplements help bones heal faster. However there is general agreement that know that adults need about 1000 mg of calcium and 800 I.U. of Vitamin D daily for good bone health. Many nutritionists suggest that you will get all of this in a standard healthy diet. Having said that, there is very little risk and much potential benefit with taking some extra calcium.
Obviously your body will be working harder to repair the fracture by laying down calcium as the bone heals. You could take some Calcium and Vitamin D to help make sure you healing fracture has all the calcium needs. Just be certain that the Calcium supplements you take also have Vitamin D.
Dr. Christopher Segler is a runner, multiple Ironman Finisher and Sports Medicine doctor in San Francisco who focuses on running injuries. If you have a question about a possible stress fracture in your foot from running. you can post a question or call him directly at 415-308-0833. For more info on running injuries see San Francisco's best running injury site.