Results of a study appearing in Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery suggest that people who engage in high impact athletic activities may need to maintain higher levels of vitamin D to forestall the development of stress fractures and their attendant pain. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that can behave as a hormone, and is known to exert many physiologic effects across multiple organ systems. Low levels of vitamin D can contribute to decreased bone mineral density, osteoporosis, and risk of fracture.
The retrospective cohort study was led by Jason R. Miller, DPM, FACFAS, Fellowship Director of the Pennsylvania Intensive Lower Extremity Fellowship, foot and ankle surgeon from Premier Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Investigators reviewed records of patients who experienced lower extremity pain with suspected stress fracture and examined MRI scans to confirm the diagnosis of stress fracture. They recorded serum vitamin D levels for 43% of these individuals and noted that 80% would be classified as having a deficient condition based on recommended standards of the Vitamin D Council. The researchers cautioned that vitamin D levels were not the sole predictor of stress fracture risk, and recommended advice on proper conditioning to individuals taking part in high impact activities.
Read a news story about the findings here.
The article abstract may be read here.