Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast we’re talking about how the Hippocratic Oath can help you get back to running sooner.
“First, do no harm.”
That basic idea is at the foundation of medicine. Doctor’s are sworn to the Hippocratic Oath, and they want yo to get better.
As a runner you may feel like the very treatment offered to you will permanently harm your ability to train, run and perform…forever.
But there is way to turn this idea around and get the doctor to buy in to your concerns.
Now you’ve probably the Hippocratic Oath and one of the things, the sort of basic tenants of the Hippocratic Oath that doctors are supposedly taken to sworn to protect you the patient, you the injured runner, is that first we do no harm. Many doctors will, with the very best of intentions, put you on crutches, tell you to stop running, put you in a fracture walking boot for six weeks, put you in a cast, something like that to try to get the specific injury that you have to calm down and not make it worse and therefore, do no harm and not allow you to do any harm, but that is just part of the issue here.
One thing you have to understand as a runner is that the specific injury you have is not really the problem. The fact that you cannot train is a problem. The fact that you if you do not train you’re not going to finish your race in your goal time is the problem, and the fact that if you stop training completely for four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, twelve weeks, six months, you are going to lose fitness to the point that it may actually be irreparable. You may never get your fitness back, so that’s where the Hippocratic Oath comes in.
What you can do is when you see the doctor and your doctor begins explaining to you some treatment that you actually suspect is going to, if not just in the short term, maybe even in the long term, going to actually really disrupt your capacity to maintain your fitness and potentially return to the same level of fitness that you have currently, and maybe even permanently damage your capacity to train as an athlete as you’re accustomed to training, you can use the Hippocratic Oath to your advantage because doctors are committed to not doing any harm to you.
Here’s how that works… What you do is when the doctor tells you that you have a stress fracture or you have Achilles tendinitis or whatever the issue is, you just say to the doctor, “Okay, I understand that I have a stress fracture or Achilles tendinitis or peroneal tendinitis or whatever the problem is, but that’s not actually my problem at all. My problem is that I want to finish this particular race in this amount of time for this reason. My injury is interfering with that so how can you help me achieve my goal while healing this injury?”
Then you need to ask them, “If I follow your treatment plan and I use a fracture walking boot for as long as you say I need to use a fracture walking boot, is there any risk that it will permanently hamper my ability to run and all of my future running goals, or am I misunderstanding something?”
That’s really important, so if you do that and you basically explain to them that your real concern is not that you’re not going to heal your injury, but that it’s actually going to get permanently disrupted in terms of your running capacity as a consequence of the very treatment the doctor is recommending to you.
And if you do that you can actually use the Hippocratic Oath to your advantage in having this discussion with the doctor so they can help you get back to running sooner.
If you have a question that you would like answered as a future edition the Doc On The Run Podcast, send it to me, and then make sure you join me in the next edition of the Doc On The Run Podcast. Thanks again for listening!