Vitamin D deficiency can increase risk of stress fracture
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient throughout many organ systems, but it's particularly crucial in bone development. More importantly, it plays a role in ensuring that a person amasses appropriate bone density. Because we get vitamin D through the sun and dietary sources, some individuals struggle to get an adequate amount, leading to conditions like osteoporosis, osteomalacia, decreased bone mineral density and risk of acute fracture. While a vitamin D deficiency can be asymptomatic, some of the signs include tiredness, general aches and weakness.
Vitamin D deficiencies can also affect certain people in different ways. According to a new report in The Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery, physically active individuals who participate in higher impact activities may need to maintain higher levels of vitamin D to reduce their risk of stress fractures.
To reach this conclusion, researchers tested a serum concentration of 25(OH)D to determine vitamin D status on patients with stress fractures. They measured the participants' level of vitamin D against current vitamin D guidelines, hoping to open a discussion about whether or not a higher concentration of vitamin D should be recommended to physically active individuals. The investigators also reviewed medical records of patients who had lower extremity pains that were suspected to be stress fractures over a three-year period. After diagnosing some of these patients with stress fractures, the researchers monitored their vitamin D levels and found that more than 80 percent of them were essentially vitamin D deficient by Vitamin D Council standards.
"Based on these findings, we recommend a serum vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/mL to protect against stress fractures, especially for active individuals who enjoy participating in higher impact activities," said Jason R. Miller, the report's lead author and a foot and ankle surgeon from Premier Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
Miller expanded, explaining that vitamin D is not the only predictor of stress fracture, and it's recommended that physically active individuals follow the correct gradual training routines that reduce the risk of stress fractures.
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