When I was younger all I wanted to do was become a softball pitcher. I used to stare at the television for hours in awe watching the Olympic pitchers throw a curveball, dropball, changeup, and riser hoping one day I could do the same. Fast forward a few years and after many begging sessions and pleas to my parents they finally gave in and paid for me to go to a pitching clinic. I loved every minute of it thereafter for the next nine years until I was hit with a debilitating injury no one saw coming, a stress fracture. Every time I landed on my driving foot I had shooting pain from my ankle to my knee that would make my entire leg quiver. I quietly dealt with the problem to keep from my coach or parents knowing for quite some time, but I one day it got to a point where I had to come clean because I couldn’t even walk to the mound without shedding tears.
After I admitted the pain and agony I was in to my parents, they politely told my coach. He sent me directly to a doctor to pin point my problem. I was hoping the doctor would tell me I had a minor case of shin splints or I pulled some muscles in my lower shins, but no. After being poked, prodded and scanned, I was told I had a extremely bad stress fracture. “How long doc?” was my first and only question. I needed to know exactly how long it would be until I could continue living out my dream. “It’s not good, Samara” was his answer, “you let it go too long.” His words after that were quite blurry, so my parents took notes on the rest of his medical advice, but I did know my dream was crushed as I limped with crutches all the way back to the car.
Long story short, I let a small case of shin splints turn into a career-ending stress fracture because I was too afraid to speak up. I ended up in a cast for four months, with little to no hope of returning back to the mound with a 100 percent recovery. The lesson is, a stress fracture cannot only be prevented, but it can be successfully treated in a timely fashion.
To find out more on how stress fractures happen, the general course of treatment and ways of preventing this painful injury, look for my next article on stress fractures.