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[pct-l] stress fractures

Good morning, Dave,

I would be skeptical of comments by a podiatrist who claims he has treated
lots of heel stress fractures of people carrying heavy loads while wearing
trail runners.  Overall, the backpacking community is very small, and most
of them don't wear trail runners.  The number of long-distance hikers, the
ones most likely to encourage repetitive-stress fractures, is smaller yet.
Still smaller, is the group of distance hikers wearing trail runners who
carry heavy loads . you know how much we like that idea.  Among that tiny
residual group of people, those who actually experience stress fractures are
statistically insignificant.  Most podiatrists spend their time treating
Aunt Tilly's bunions, so the best bet is to find someone specializes in
sports podiatry, or one who regularly treats combat paratroopers who step
out of an airplane carrying two parachutes and 110 lbs. of gear.

There are two classic reasons offered by people who recommend stout boots
for heavy loads and rough trails.  The first is usually the boot's
additional resistance to ankle turning, and the second is a thick, stiff
sole will supposedly better protect the foot from rocks on the trail.  If
those suppositions are true, neither will decrease the risk of heel stress
fracture.  In fact, trail or running shoes typically have a far superior
foam-cushioned heel cup compared to a boot, and that cup is nicely rounded
to support the heel rather than being substantially flat like in a boot.

Far more common than stress fractures are instances of plantar fasciitis.
Do a net search on that topic and you will have hours of reading.  The good
news about plantar fasciitis . good for us, not for the podiatrist . is that
it is usually cheap and easy to fix.

Hike on ...


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dave Encisco" <dencisco@eos.arc.nasa.gov>
To: <pct-l@mailman.backcountry.net>
Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2005 10:32 AM
Subject: [pct-l] stress fractures

> Hi all,
> Just curious as to whether anyone else has been dealing with heel
> stress fractures since switching from boots to lighter trail hiking
> shoes. I've been using NB and Lowa trail shoes for about four years
> now, but recently I've been suffering from heel stress fractures;
> which I've never experienced before. It has nothing to do with the
> wear and tare of the shoe, because I buy new shoes every spring and
> the recent fracture occurred two weeks ago using a new pair of
> Lowa's. My (new) podiatrist says he has treated a lot of heel stress
> fractures of people carrying heavy loads and using trail runners. Well
> my heavy loaded pack is only about 25 lbs. at the most and the only
> other thing I can think of is I use my trail runners for mostly
> x-country and peak summits now. My most recent problem did occur on a
> trail, but the Austrian and Slovenia trails are closer to our Sierra
> x-country routes. Just curious...it could be that I'm just getting
> older.
> Dave
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