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Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Date:11/7/2008

The supplements can help prevent stress fractures, experts say,,

FRIDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Calcium and vitamin D supplements may do more than strengthen bones in older women. These vital nutrients may also help younger, active women reduce their risk of stress fractures.

To illustrate that point, many bone health experts refer to a recent study of more than 5,200 female U.S. Navy recruits that found that women who didn't take additional calcium and vitamin D were about 25 percent more likely to suffer a stress fracture than women who took the vitamin and mineral combination.

"The most common time for a stress fracture is when you're increasing your exercise levels -- when you're going from doing nothing to doing a whole lot. It's too much, too fast, and the bone can't handle it," explained Dr. Sabrina Strickland, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

"Before you embark on any sort of exercise regimen, take calcium and vitamin D supplements to reduce your chances of a stress fracture," she advised.

Stress fractures occur when muscles become tired and can't absorb shock properly. That force is then transferred to the bone instead. After time, that added shock can cause a tiny crack in the bone. More than half of all stress fractures occur in the lower leg, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Women are more likely to suffer stress fractures, particularly women involved in just one particular sport, such as running, tennis, gymnastics or basketball.

"Stress fractures are seen in people who do the same activity over and over again," said Dr. Elton Strauss, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical School in New York City.

In the Navy recruit study, the women were undergoing eight weeks of basic training. All were between the ages
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