Today on the Doc on the Run Podcast, we’re talking about why I don’t tell runners whether or not they can run over social media.
You know, on social media channels, whether you follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, whatever it is, you can see that I’ve got lots of videos and lots of content posted that discuss all these issues with runners and what to do when you’re injured and you’re trying to get back to running and maintain your running fitness. Now, without exception, the number one question I get on social media, whether it’s a direct message or an email, or even a comment on a YouTube video is that I get runners who ask me, “I have a stress fracture. My doctor said I can’t run. Is it okay for me to run my race this weekend?”
And I do literally get comments or questions or emails that amount to exactly that over and over and over. And I’ll always scratch my head a little bit and wonder, “Does this person really think it makes sense to ask a complete stranger, who has absolutely no idea about what’s going on with them, whether or not it’s okay for them to run, particularly when their doctor told them to not run?” It seems a little crazy, but I think there really is a reason that runners want to see if they can run. They hear something either on one of these podcast or they watch one of the YouTube videos on the Doc on the Run YouTube channel, and then they think, “Well, given my circumstances, maybe I could run.”
Now, the best thing to do, of course, would be to either call your doctor and share that information with them you just discovered or schedule a second opinion, telemedicine visit with someone who’s an expert and ask them directly, given your circumstances. But the reality is that there’s a reason that I schedule 60 minute calls as a standard practice for all new patient telemedicine, second opinion consultations.
I need to know what you’re doing and what your goals are. I need to know how much you’re training, how much you want to train, what the problem is, what your symptoms actually are. Be able to make a diagnosis based on your description and what I see over webcam. And we need to figure out what you need to do to maintain your running fitness and make sure that you’re strong enough to actually run without re-injury. Now, I can’t give you that answer without knowing all of those things, that’s the bottom line.
So the first thing is, to actually just tell someone, who just tells me they have a stress fracture, or they have an Achilles tendon injury or plantar fasciitis, or a partial rupture of the plantar plate or anything, to tell you that it’s okay for you to run when I haven’t evaluated you, is actually a pretty clear violation of what we call medical ethics. You know, the rules we’re supposed to follow to make sure that we’re doing the right thing for patients most of the time.
Now there are reasons that we follow those rules. We don’t provide evaluations for people without the information that we need. So we have to have a certain amount of information. That’s why when you go to the doctor’s office and you get that really obnoxious three or four page sheet questionnaire that asks you, “How much does it hurt? When does it hurt? What’s it hurt like on a scale of 1 to 10. Have you had any fever, nausea, chills, vomiting, night sweats.” All these questions that you think are completely irrelevant, they actually do have a place and a function in the decision-making of the doctor. But saying, “My doctor said, I have a stress fracture. Can I run?” Well, you’re just trying to skip over all that. And doctors are not going to give you that answer without knowing the whole story because to do so, would just be irresponsible. It’s an incomplete assessment and the doctor can’t give you the correct advice without a complete assessment and actually understanding your situation. Obviously if we do that, that would be irresponsible.
So, we’re not going to tell somebody to go swim across the lake, if they say, “Hey, I just started swimming. Do you think I could swim across the lake?” “Well, that depends. How big is the lake? How far is it? How well can you actually swim?” And to tell you, “Sure people do it all the time, you should just go try that”, would be irresponsible and we shouldn’t do that. So that’s really the main reason.
And I actually do get people sometimes who comment and will say, “Why can’t you just answer my question?” “Well, because I don’t have an answer. I don’t know your situation and I can’t give you that without actually spending the time with you to really help you figure that out.” Now you can figure that out. A lot of it on your own, if you go through the three-day fast track challenge, but you’ve got to make sure that you’re doing a really deep dive into your own situation to make your own assessment in the same way, if you really want to do so and not do some damage to yourself.
So if you can’t book a telemedicine visit, if you don’t have access to a doctor, if you don’t have time to spend an hour talking about that on a call, you should go through all the self-diagnosis stuff. Make sure that you’re able to ask yourself all the right questions so that you can figure out how to get back to running as quickly as possible.
Go to https://www.docontherun.com/fasttrack/ and grab your seat now. I’ll see you in the training.