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Stress Fractures


Acute injuries can interrupt lives. Obvious sprains from a fall or fractures from a collision are painful and limiting – they also draw our immediate attention and action into treatment.

More subtle injuries – insidious and invisible to the onlooker and even ignorable for a time by the injured – can be equally painful and limiting. Because they do not draw our immediate attention, there is often delayed or lack of action into treatment, creating the potential for more serious and long-lasting injury, debilitation and breakdown of the whole system.

Consider a stress fracture of the foot from running – generally caused by overuse, lack of supportive footwear, increased volume and impact of training, new surfaces and inadequate time for recovery. Sometimes there are warning signs of pending injury – slight soreness, tight muscles – and slight modifications in the frequency and intensity of training along with attention to the necessary footwear and accommodating surfaces, with increased recovery time can allow significant injury to be avoided.

Other times there is sudden onset of severe pain, side-lining any and all activity, requiring more significant intervention. Continuing the previous training at this stage would likely lead to a true fracture of the foot, requiring even longer healing, surgical intervention and potentially cause irreparable damage.

In the time of this forced pause, re-evaluation of training program and protocol is necessary, requiring an intentional plan for return-to-run, taking into consideration the previous injury, restructuring the new method of engagement with sport accordingly.

Acute injuries can interrupt lives. Obvious injuries from violent action and suppressive laws against Black people in America sometimes draw attention and call for action into treatment. The level of awareness and response is inadequate. This must change and requires action at the policy level with enforcement by federal, state, county and city government.

More subtle injuries against Black people in America – often insidious and invisible to the onlooker and offender, and even ignorable for a time by the injured – can be equally painful and limiting. Because they do not draw our immediate attention, there is delayed and lack of action into treatment, creating the potential for more serious and long-lasting injury, debilitation and breakdown of the whole system.

Consider stress fractures in the Black community from systemic racism – generally caused by repeated micro-aggressions, lack of support from the non-Black community, increased volume and impact of insults, new and unjust policies and inadequate insight and understanding of experience. Sometimes there are warning signs of pending injury – peaceful protests, statements of experience, demand to have equal rights, truly and meaningfully enforced and protected – and modifications in the frequency and intensity of insults along with attention to the necessary support structure and accommodating societal framework, with increased understanding and honoring of diversity and experience, can allow significant injury to be avoided.

We have ignored the warning signs. These measures alone are woefully inadequate.

This is a time of sudden onset of severe pain for Black people in America with overwhelming levels of exhaustion from the centuries of racism side-lining any and all activity and more significant intervention IS REQUIRED. Continuing the previous societal ways at this stage will lead to true fracture for Black people in America, requiring even longer healing and very likely cause irreparable damage.

Ignorance is no longer an option. Massive action on multiple levels is the only choice.

In the time of this forced pause, re-evaluation of systems, policies and rules is necessary, requiring an intentional plan to ensure equity is expected, enacted and enforced, taking into consideration the previous injuries, including our own contribution to them through our personal thoughts and actions, restructuring a new method of engagement in America accordingly, acknowledging, honoring, protecting and supporting the Black community.

May we show clearly that Black lives matter by seeing and treating the obvious and the subtle injuries to make the changes necessary to support successful participation in life through truly equal footing for all.


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