After nine years with the Houston Rockets Yao Ming announced his retirement. Affecting his decision to retire was a stress fracture in his left foot. While it is not stated which bone he fractured, it is probably his heel bone (calcaneus), or his second metatarsal—one of the bones of the front of the foot where the toes attach. Stress fractures are a consequence of repeated weight on a bone without enough periods of rest. It is especially common in sports such as basketball, tennis, dance, and gymnastics, because an athlete will need to literally stay on their toes during play and training. Whether you are the star center of the Houston Rockets, or a weekend warrior in a local league around Jacksonville, FL The First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic has these recommendations to help prevent stress fractures:
- Avoid doing too much too soon: Instead, build your way up, setting incremental goals, so your body can become accustomed to your level of activity.
- Diet: include foods rich in calcium and vitamin D to strengthen your bones.
- Rest your feet! This will give your bones a chance to recover from the stress you put them through.
- If it hurts, stop! Stress fractures are tiny, but painful. In fact, they are often not detectable on X-ray. The good news is that fractures are small enough to recover quickly, and, with adequate preventative measures, you’ll be back in the game!