Females who regularly exercise and experience repeat stress fractures may not be consuming enough calories and nutrients.

Today’s post was adapted from an article written for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons by Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, Surgical Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Team Physician for Stonehill College Athletics, and Emily Curry, BA,  research assistant for the Women’s Sports Medicine Program.

If you are a female who regularly exercises and experiences repeat stress fractures, take note. You may not be consuming enough calories and nutrients to sustain your current activity level.

“We are seeing more and more female athletes, including recreational athletes, with stress fractures accompanied by low energy, irregular periods, and/or decreased bone density,” says Dr. Matzkin.

Inadequate nutrition intake, abnormal menstruation, and premature bone loss are components of a spectrum of interrelated medical issues that make up what is known as the Female Athlete Triad. A stress fracture is a common symptom of the Female Athlete Triad.

“Because bone loss cannot be reversed, these women are at risk for osteoporosis, which can lead to repeat fractures and serious bone issues down the line,” explains Dr. Matzkin. “That is why it is so important to recognize and address the Female Athlete Triad as quickly as possible.”

Dr. Matzkin works as part of a team of specialists, including endocrinologists and nutritionists, to treat women with the Female Athlete Triad. One major part of treatment is a comprehensive nutritional evaluation and plan to restore energy balance and ensure that the athlete’s diet includes sufficient caloric and nutrient intake, including carbohydrates, protein, fat, calcium, and Vitamin D.

If you experience stress fractures or repetitive pain with athletic activity, be sure to talk with your doctor.

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– Jessica F.

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