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What causes teen cheerleaders to get stress fractures?

Jennifer A. Baima, MD
Neuromuscular Medicine

Stress fractures occur from increased repetitive force on normal bone or normal force on weak bone. When a fracture happens because of weak bone, we call this insufficiency fracture. Teen cheerleaders may be at risk for either type of fracture. If a cheerleader is not doing other strength training activities, then jumping on hard surfaces may result in stress fracture of the feet or shins. Cheerleaders are often under societal pressure to stay thin. Teenagers in general often consume more junk food. Dieting while increasing activity levels, lack of appropriate calcium and vitamin D in the diet, and intake of soda are all risk factors for insufficiency fractures. Proper strength training, appropriate footwear, and good nutrition can prevent stress or insufficiency fractures in teen cheerleaders.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.