Women and Workouts – How Extreme Diets and Overworked Muscles Affect Bone Health

 Staying fit, healthy, and strong is hard work—and it gets even harder as we age. Strict workout plans and unforgiving fitness regimens may produce the best results, but they can put you at increased risk of injury.

A crash diet one week before a wedding or a three-day cleanse before a beach trip may be (mostly) harmless in the long run, but extreme diets and intense exercise over time can cause chronic injury.

In women especially, bone health can be directly affected by body weight, intense activity, and dietary choices. Sure, extreme solutions produce drastic results, but the hazards can be equally harsh.

Even if your twice-weekly, two-hour tennis games seem modest enough, it’s important to realize that women have an increased risk of sidelining injuries. Our choices in the kitchen can also pose unique risks to women’s health.

Alabama Orthopaedic Surgeons encourages you to stay well and active no matter your age, but consider your increased likelihood for:


ACL Tears

Though it may seem like ACL tears only happen in professional athletes, according to some studies at least 1 in 3,500everyday Americans suffer an ACL injury each year. The increased risk for women originates in the design of a woman’s knees.

Women are knock-kneed more often than men which places increased strain on a woman’s ACL. Comparatively weaker hip muscles can also contribute to increased risk of injury when twisting or landing.

ACL tears require surgery to correct, while preventing them can be a matter of increased weight training focused on the hips, hamstrings, and quads.


Stress Fractures

Lean diets, fad diets, and extreme low-calorie diets may take off the weight rapidly, but deficiencies in certain vitamins and fats can place women at higher risk of stress fractures.

Vitamin D and healthy fats contribute to bone health over time. Seemingly harmless activities like training for a marathon or weekly stings on the treadmill can compound that risk even more.

Adding calcium to your diet can help to strengthen your bones and allowing yourself the fattier cuts of meat now and then can give you the energy and strength you need to support yourself and take some stress off your bones.

Fad diets and super-lean diets rob your body of necessary and overall healthy vitamins and nutrients. Running, especially long distance, is a great way to stay fit. But if you’re not preparing yourself in the kitchen beforehand, you can find yourself hurting down the road.


Rotator Cuff

Women are naturally more flexible than their male counterparts—even in the shoulder. But increased reliance on your natural limberness can cause you to hyperextend. Tendon inflammation and dislocation are common injuries in women and can occur during swinging activities or even just running and weight training.

As with avoiding other potential injuries, strengthening the supporting muscular systems can alleviate the stress caused by certain activities. Choosing the right activities suited to your physical ability can also help ensure an injury-free workout regimen.



While not necessarily an injury, osteoporosis can change the way we plan for fitness. Women over 51 years of age are often at an increased risk of weakening bone and related injuries.

Here, as with stress fractures, winning in the kitchen is crucial. Protein isn’t just for powerlifting men, and calcium (whether a supplement or dietary choice) is a must. Health and wellbeing are long-term achievements, not week-before or day-before accomplishments. Planning in the long run may keep you running longer.


From Kitchen to Gym

The team at Alabama Orthopaedic Surgeons knows how to repair just about any injury you may suffer during your fitness routine. Even so, they know that the best-case injury is the one you never have at all.

Staying healthy as a woman poses unique challenges that can be overcome by equally unique solutions. If you suffer from a persistent ache, a sharp recurring pain, or frequent fractures, consider consulting an orthopaedic physician today.

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