High Number of Daily Steps Recorded by Runners Recovering from Bone Stress Injuries

Brett G. Toresdahl, Joseph Nguyen, Marci A. Goolsby, Mark C. Drakos, Stephen Lyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Bone stress injuries (BSIs) are common among runners for which activity modification is the primary treatment. The clinical utility of measuring activity during recovery has not been evaluated. Questions/Purposes: We sought to measure the physical activity of runners recovering from BSIs and determine if activity can be correlated with symptoms. Methods: A prospective observational pilot study was performed of runners with a new lower extremity BSI treated non-surgically. For 30 days, activity of runners was measured with a physical activity tracker and daily pain scores were collected. Results: We enrolled 18 runners (average age, 33 years; 72% female). Twelve had stress fractures and six had stress reactions. The average daily steps of all runners during the observation period was 10,018 ± 3232, and the runner with the highest daily steps averaged 15,976. There were similar average daily steps in those with stress fractures versus reactions, 10,329 versus 9965, respectively. There was no correlation between daily steps or relative change in daily steps with pain or relative change in pain scores. Conclusion: Runners with BSIs averaged over 10,000 steps per day during early recovery. Clinicians may not be aware of the amount of activity runners maintain after being diagnosed with a BSI. Although daily steps and symptoms could not be correlated in this study, objectively measuring activity may assist clinicians in guiding runners recovering from BSIs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-411
Number of pages4
JournalHSS Journal
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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