Calcium and Vitamin D are two widely available and popular nutritional supplements used for bone health.  A wide array of peer reviewed research has demonstrated that the use of Calcium and Vitamin D can improve bone density.  However, little to no research to date has examined the use Calcium and Vitamin D in bone development and prevention of bone overuse injuries and stress fractures in athletes ages 18 to 35 years. 


Stress fractures are very common and troublesome injuries impacting athletes of many disciplines.  Most stress fractures are located in the bones of the lower legs and feet. These fractures are tiny hair-like cracks in the bone caused by repetitive activity and overuse.  These cracks begin to occur when an athlete’s muscles are exhausted and these fatigued muscles transfer stress overload to the bones.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, overuse injuries and stress fractures can affect athletes of all sports who participate in repetitive activities.  Many studies have demonstrated that female athletes experience more overuse injuries and stress fractures than male athletes. The AAOS purports that this higher incidence of injury may be due to The Female Athlete Triad, bone loss, osteopenia, and osteoporosis leading to an increase in the risk of a stress fracture.

A randomized trial was conducted with a group of female military recruits and found that Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation did reduce the incidence of stress fractures. Another study examined young female runners and found that Calcium and Vitamin D intake did reduce incidence of stress fractures and increased bone mineral density measures.  Athletes in these studies were ingesting on average more than 1500 mg of Calcium per day, and reporting much less stress fracture injuries.
More investigation is needed to evaluate the role of Calcium and Vitamin D intake and the prevention of stress fracture injuries in a larger demographic of athletes participating in a wide variety of sports.