If you’re developing a fitness habit, the last thing you want is an injury like a stress fracture which can put you to the side for a month to 6 weeks. Talk about a habit-breaker.
So, how can you prevent a stress fracture? It’s not too difficult: wear decent footwear and build gradually. While I’m not an advocate of fancy shoes, one of the things fancy athletic shoes offer is cushioning, and since stress fractures are caused by repeated stress, cushioning can help prevent them. Of course, your feet were made for walking, without shoes. But not on cement or uneven rocky surfaces.
I developed my recent stress fracture through a great trifecta of problems: 1. I injured my heels and walked on the balls of my feet. 2. I did this in shoes with very thin soles, and 3. I did it walking on cobblestones. If I’d been walking on dirt or grass or even an asphalt surface, my feet wouldn’t have needed to flex quite so much in response to landing.
The last part of stress fractures is the sudden increase or change of your exercise. If you walk to the car in the driveway every day, it is not practical to suddenly begin walking 10 miles per day. It is more sensible to walk a few miles every day, skip a day, walk 10 miles, skip a day, walk a few miles every day and gradually add distance and duration. Gradually!
Don’t forget in your rush to get in shape that something so simple as rushing your fitness routine can sideline you for long enough that you give up. That is not the recipe for long term fitness! If you begin to develop foot or shin pain, try biking or swimming every other day until the pain subsides, because prevention is better than a cure!