Stress Fractures, Blood Pressure Medications: Common Runner’s Health Issues


What’s the best way to treat a stress fracture?

Bone stress fractures are very common sports injuries. Any trauma to bones, such as repeated pounding when your heel strikes the ground during running, or landing on your feet after grabbing a basketball, can cause small cracks on the surface of bones called stress fractures. In healthy athletes, they can take from 3 to 12 weeks to heal, forcing an athlete to lose valuable training time. A study from Tulane University shows that intravenous pamidronate can heal these fractures quickly and keep the playing (Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, March 2005). Bones change constantly. Calcium is carried from bones by cells called osteoclasts and carried into bones by cells called osteoblasts. Bisphosphonates such as pamidronate prevent osteoclasts from carrying calcium from bones. The athletes received five weekly intravenous infusions of pamidronate and were able to continue training, even though they had painful small fractures in bones of their feet and legs.

Will blood pressure drugs interfere with your running program?

The beta blocker drugs used to treat blood pressure and heart problems can markedly impair your ability to exercise, according to a study from Switzerland (European Journal of Applied Physiology, October 2005). How hard you can exercise is limited by the ability of your heart to pump blood from your lungs to your exercising muscles. Beta blockers markedly reduce blood flow and oxygen supply to muscles. Beta blocker brand names include Toprol, Inderal, Blocadron, Coreg, Inopran, Levatol, Pindolol, Sectral, Tenormin, Timolol Trandate, Zebeta and Bisoprol.

Beta blockers are prescribed to treat people who have had heart attacks, heart pain, heart failure, rapid heart beat and atrial fibrillation. However, even though many physicians prescribe beta blockers to treat high blood pressure, there is no data show that they prevent heart attacks in healthy people. If beta blockers interfere with your ability to exercise, ask your doctor if you can take other types of medications such ace inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers or calcium channel blockers..