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919 Views 2 Replies Latest reply: Mar 6, 2013 8:41 AM by JamesJohnsonLMT
Shennly Rookie 1 posts since
Feb 21, 2013
Currently Being Moderated

Feb 21, 2013 10:16 PM

Femur Stress Reaction ?

I have recently been diagnosed with a Femur Stress Reaction.  This occured whilst running though at first did not know and kept running for a couple of weeks, then when I could nt run anymore I did not get it checked out till a couple of weeks later.  I have been told by the Orthopedic Doctor that I need to be on cruthces for at least 6 weeks up to 6 months.  Which is quite daunting.  Apparently no weight bearing on this leg. 

Has anyone any tips on how I may be able to heal quicker ! I am 52 years old and apparently the neck of the femur also has osteopenia as well.  Any feedback on this injury would be greatly appreciated .  If anyone has experienced the type of stress reaction how much did you actually have to rest it.  No weight at all ? Okay to get around on 2 crutches ? I work for myself as well so I do need to have some mobility though I certainly do not want to aggravate it and cause a fracture.

Thanks very much in advance..:-)

  • Haselsmasher Legend 538 posts since
    May 25, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Feb 22, 2013 4:51 AM (in response to Shennly)
    Femur Stress Reaction ?

    While I've never had a stress reaction in my femur specifically, I have had one in my heel and had to be in a walking boot for a few weeks.

    • My understanding is that stress reactions are not discrete things - they happen in degrees.  So you can have a minor one or a "major" one.  So comparing healing times of others with stress reactions in their femur may not be a good comparison - since theirs may have been different severeity than yours.
    • Stress reactions are pre-cursors to a stress fracture.  So you definitely don't want it to get worse.
    • You didn't say if the stress reaction is in the neck where the osteopenia is.  However be aware that femur stress reactions, especially in the neck, can be very serious.  I *think* there are scenarios where there can be nerve damage or some such thing and there can be permanent ramifications if they aren't handled correctly and go on for too long.  So I would take the doc's recommendations very seriously. 


    I'm not trying to be alarming - but from what I've seen on the boards over the years this can be a tough one if you don't take care of it.


    Over at in the Injuries forum I think there are some very long threads with people going through this.  You might get some additional information there.


    Good luck.



    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,290 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Mar 6, 2013 8:41 AM (in response to Shennly)
    Re: Femur Stress Reaction ?

    This article from Helio discusses the stress reaction vs. stress fracture and other possible diagnoses, with a lot of numbers on the distribution of injuries in the athletic population. As Jim mentions, it can be very serious, but found and treated in time, a stress reaction, described in the article as edema (fluid buildup) visible on the bone with the aid of MRI imaging, is a precursor of bone breaking down faster than it can rebuild. In the case of osteopenia, it is possible that your condition has accelerated.


    The good news is the successful rehab protocols discussed in the article. While a young fit athlete is reported to be pain-free within weeks of treatment, you may reasonably expect a slower recovery at 52 with a bone condition.


    What I found most interesting about this article is its thorough discussion of the stress reaction and potential fracture, as well as how easily it can be misdiagnosed as muscle strain, or perhaps other similar pain syndromes associated with imaging such as labral tear. Important to note is how pain was present during some motions of the hip but not others. Don't expect every instance of stress reaction to present the same way, but all clues taken together eventually point in the right direction. Regardless, a reduced exercise regimen until pain-free, followed by a gradual and cautious return to running can help a lot of running injuries no matter what the diagnosis.


    Next time you feel such pains coming on, particularly in light of your bone condition, act quickly and do not run through the pain, as cautioned above.


    Meanwhile, your general bone health needs some attention to detail. There may be a hormonal imbalance, digestive disorder, or dietary/lifestyle change to look at. Try not to confine yourself to just one problem, stress reaction. It could be a symptom of more important issues, if the bone-density problem is not reversed. Be aware that medications for bone density are not without serious side effects, including increased rates of fracture due to brittleness of bone after treatment.


    Healthy bone is about more than mineralization. Have your Vitamin D and K levels checked. Vitamin D is best absorbed when large amounts of skin are exposed to direct sunlight (in the middle of the day) for several minutes a day. Clouds, atmosphere during early/late hours, windows, and sunscreen filter out these beneficial effects, while allowing harmful radiation. When conditions are right and D is produced in the skin, it takes days for the skin to absorb it. In modern times, most people wash away the skin oils that hold this vital substance before it is absorbed by the skin, which is one reason why bone disease and other D-related maladies are so common. Vitamin K in its most bone-beneficial form is best produced by bacterial activity, which is lacking in today's pasteurized food products. Without this little-known vitamin, it is impossible for your body to properly manage the distribution of calcium.


    Make sure you eat enough foods rich in the essential vitamin C, which is important to the collagen matrix of which your bone is largely composed, and without which healthy bone is impossible. Remember that several minerals are necessary for building bone, and there are many rich dietary sources for them. Too much calcium alone is not good for men in their 50s, and can wind up in your arteries. Some minerals such as iron, and seemingly harmless additives like fiber can backfire by interfering with intestinal absorption or eliminating vital nutrients by sweeping them away. Do not overdo or underdo anything. Timing is also important.


    Please exhaust all natural strategies for tackling osteopenia before resorting to medication. The condition does not have to progress if the appropriate changes are made. Exercise normally increases bone density, but you may need to take up a different form of load-bearing exercise for a while until the danger of serious bone remodeling is past. After you are on the mend, a return to running is not out of the picture. It is a sport you can take up at any age with equal reward.


    Message was edited by: James Johnson LMT

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