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Muscle Might Reduce Runner Stress Fractures

Previous studies have shown that female athletes are more at risk of stress fractures compared to men. The same is true of military recruits in boot camp. A new study from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center suggests muscle mass might be a contributing factor. Findings were published in the journal Current Orthopaedic Practice.

Data on dozens of injured female college runners showed athletes with a Body Mass Index (BMI) less than 19 were more likely to suffer stress fractures and also took longer to recover. Female runners with BMI greater than 19 typically recovered from a stress fracture in about 13 weeks compared to the average 17 weeks for thinner runners. Less muscle mass for absorbing the shock of running puts the task of shock absorption directly on bones.