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metatarsal stress fracture (not from climbing), when can I climb again?

Original Post
stephaniet · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Does anyone have experience with returning to climbing after a metatarsal (foot) stress fracture? The stress fracture itself is unrelated to climbing -- but it IS related to shoes that were too tight, possibly in combination with running. (And...maybe in additional combination with my not-to-loose climbing shoes.) I asked my doctor about this and he said no climbing, "because you might step on a rock in some strange way and that could stress the bone." This leads me to believe he doesn't really know what climbing is. 

Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts about how long I should wait to climb/get back in climbing shoes. I'm thinking about starting off with a running shoe on that foot and climbing really easy stuff with just one leg, but it does seem like even in a loose and flat shoe, I'd still be putting extra pressure on the metatarsal. 

Thoughts? Thanks!

lperitz22 · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 75

I also had a 2nd metatarsal stress fracture. After 2 weeks I was gym climbing (carefully) with a mountaineering boot because the rigid sole helped to immobilize my foot. After 4 weeks climbing outside, still with the boot, but not leading because a fall could be a set-back. foot healed fine. Hope that works for you too. 

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5

He may not completely understand rock climbing but he's not wrong that it involves flexing, torquing, and stressing your foot in all sorts of unusual ways. You're probably safe to climb normally when the bone is healed, and your Dr. can tell you when that is. 

In the meantime, did he give you a boot to wear? Those are designed to keep your foot totally flat while you walk without flexing, but rather rolling the sole of the boot. I wouldn't trade that out for running shoes until it's healed. When I broke my foot I climbed with one leg, kept the boot on for protection and used a knee pad (the soft kind volleyball players wear, not the hard plastic kind) to protect my knee when it would brace or even smear on the wall. All with a TR belay kept VERY tight while close to the ground. It was a fun challenge, kept me mostly in shape, and forced me to climb more dynamically which was a good thing for me. 

Later when it was half to mostly healed, my very climbing knowledgeable PT cleared me to ski (but no ice climbing) due to the stiff boot and low stress on the foot. 

Good luck finding ways to cope and stay active, but don't risk prolonging your healing time. Future Stephanie will thank you. 

stephaniet · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Thanks for the tips here. I didn't get a boot but rather a flat/stiff-soled surgical shoe. I do have a boot at home from when I fractured my tibia (lol), but it goes up to my knee and I think is a bit of overkill. Will probably try TRing with the surgical shoe on/with one leg...

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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