UPDATED May 22nd: Days before Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, Lionel Sanders pulled out of the race citing an aggravated sciatic nerve. On April 17th, Sanders announced that an MRI has confirmed a sacral stress fracture (via Youtube May 21st).

After 3 weeks of trying different healing modalities with no success, for what I thought to be a nerve impingement, I finally went to see a sports doctor. Though the symptoms weren’t indicating a fracture, he ordered an MRI to rule it out 100%. Sadly the MRI came back positive for a sacral fracture. – @lsanderstri

Related: Pushing the limits of performance: Sacral stress fractures

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Sorry for the silence. It has taken me quite a while to get some definite answers. After 3 weeks of trying different healing modalities with no success, for what I thought to be a nerve impingement, I finally went to see a sports doctor. Though the symptoms weren’t indicating a fracture, he ordered an MRI to rule it out 100%. Sadly the MRI came back positive for a sacral fracture. On March 19th I did a brick workout where my glute started to hurt. I didn’t do a warmup for the run portion, and figured I had stepped a little funny and aggravated my sciatic nerve. Three weeks of rest, massages, physical therapy and though it was getting better, it was still too painful to run. I got the MRI back and called my mom to tell her the news and she asked me if I had fallen. This then reminded me that on my bike workout on March 18th I rode up to a water fountain and tried to be cool and balance at the fountain while taking a drink. I lost my balance and fell over directly onto my hip/butt, without having time to unclip. The embarrassment was far greater than any pain, so I immediately got back onto my bike and rode away. The next day I became symptomatic. The doctor thinks the bone was likely already weakened to fracture under this sort of trauma. Then the next couple of day’s training took it completely over the edge. Unfortunately, I am off running for 9-12 weeks. There is always a silver lining though, and I will take this time to work hard on my swim, and other deficiencies that could have contributed to this injury. We plan to document the whole process. You can mark my words that on the other side of this thing, I will be a stronger and better athlete. I want to sincerely thank all of my friends, family and sponsors who have been incredibly supportive in what has been a tough last couple of weeks. #nolimits

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Sanders is not the first elite male triathlete to have suffered a sacral fracture in the last 12 months. Both Jan Frodeno and Ben Hoffman suffered similar injuries at the end of 2018 in the lead up to the Ironman World Championship.

With Ironman Texas now off the table and weight-bearing activities out of the question, Sanders plans to work on his swim in the coming months.

Unfortunately, I am off running for 9-12 weeks. There is always a silver lining though, and I will take this time to work hard on my swim, and other deficiencies that could have contributed to this injury. – @lsanderstri

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