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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Femoral Stress Fracture Recovery Time

Yesterday I returned to the doctor to have my MRI read and discuss a return to running. I kind of wish he would have just called me, since I have a $4500 deductible ($3000 out of network, which is everyone, and $1500 in network, which is not one single provider that I know of). But that's not how these things work, so in I went and paid my copay.
There is good news and weird news.
This is not my leg. And my fracture was  far more obvious than this on xray. But there aren't a lot of good examples on the Google. 

Weird news: The MRI showed more detail than the xray, and I had a complete fracture of the left femur. That means the fracture went all the way across the bone. How I ran several races on that I do not  know, but it explains why the pain was bad enough at first to keep me from even going down the stairs normally.

Good news: Even since the xray, I've progressed! Once I started resting the limb, it improved dramatically, and by the time I had the MRI the bone had started healing very well. There is thickening there (cell buildup - healing) but very little inflammation. Also good news: there is no current soft tissue damage at all: some of the insertion areas seem thickened, perhaps scar tissue, but no inflammation or acute issues.

The plan from here: Yesterday I had lab work done to rule out any unusual reason for this injury. Let's face it: distal femoral stress fractures are unusual and could be a problem with calcium levels or vitamin D. Plus, my doctor is pretty thorough, and he wanted to check my parathyroid hormone: it is integral to extracellular calcium regulation, and since I had a partial thyroidectomy about 10 years ago it makes sense to check those levels just in case.

I also have strict instructions to pay attention to discomfort and pain! Apparently, like all runners. I just ignore it. Then I end up with a fracture for 5 months.

As for a return to sport, I have already taken off two weeks. I have to take off another two weeks from any impact, although I am cleared to pool run, and I have to try to stay off my feet at work (fat chance of that happening - we talked about crutches or a sling cast but they would just be so impractical in my tiny pharmacy). After two weeks, I can start to incorporate cycling; after two weeks of that, I can start to incorporate walking/running. If anything hurts, I go back a week. This is a pretty short recovery time because the bone just looks good already. I think I just needed to finish resting it: it never totally healed this winter since I kept coming back to running too early.


  1. Wow! I've had simple tendinitis issues that knocked me out longer than that! Good for you!
    So glad you are going to be back at it soon so you don't have to resort to food posts (lol!)

  2. Wow your body must be naturally strong for you only to need that long to recover for that type of injury! That is great news!

  3. Yay for being an overachieving super fast healer! :)

  4. How did I miss your femoral fracture post?? Good luck on the rest of your tests. I hope it wasnt caused by anything unusual!

    It's awesome that your recovery time is so short. I was out for 3 solid months with my femoral fracture. I ran on mine for months too thinking it was groin pain. Oops.

  5. A fracture all the way across the bone??? Sheesh, no wonder you were in pain! I had a partial thyroidectomy eight years ago (including parathyroid glands) and have to supplement my vitamin D in order for it to even approach the low range of "normal" (whatever that is). I hope your recovery goes well and that the tests yield something insightful!!

  6. So when does a fracture become a break? I mean, it was all the way across the friggin' bone??? You should seriously look into hovercraft shoes for work. There's literally no contact with the ground. I'm pretty sure they exist.

    Don't rush the recovery. Even though you're decades younger, faster, smarter, and many other things "'er" than me, I feel we're somewhat similar. And I would definitely rush the recovery. Don't rush the recovery. I'll be here all week if you have any medical questions, but I'll need the rest of your deductible.

  7. How in the world did you race and run that way? You must have an incredibly high tolerance to pain. Fantastic that you are starting to heal and you will still be able to pool run- and no tissue damage is good news too.
    Keep getting better, Gracie. It's going to be a happy, happy return to running soon for you.

  8. I have a feeling I will be meeting my deductible this year as well, possibly my out of pocket maximum depending on how things shake out with this injury. Makes me sick as I met my out of pocket max last year! Ugh!

    It is encouraging to hear that you are healing quickly. I hope that is the case for me, too. I can not believe you had a complete break and were still able to run on it! Wow, you have a high tolerance for pain!

  9. Deny........
    I guess it comes with this sport...
    I think reading this is good for me...I need to follow your example
    And I will be heading for the darn pool......
    It is good that your are making progress in the recovery

  10. Holy crap. I can't believe you could run on that EVER. I had a stress fracture in the femoral neck in 2010 and I was literally on and off crutches for 4 months. I couldn't even step on it!! This is amazing to me.

    I'm laughing at the crutches being impractical. Totally get this. I was on crutches when I was working (at a dental office) and more than once I threw one of those suckers across the room because it was SO inconvenient to move in that tiny space. Anger management issues here-ha!

    So glad to hear you're healing and excited to see your comeback!!

  11. Well it's good to know what it is so you can work on healing it! It's so frustrating when you don't know how to fix it!