Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast, we’re talking about distinguishing your wants from your needs and your running injury recovery.
Now, all of us want to get better when we have a running injury. We just want to run and when you go to the doctor, things start getting confusing because the doctors tell you what you need to do, but it doesn’t always jive with what you really want to do. And I thought it might be helpful for you to understand a little bit about the difference between your true wants and needs when you go to the doctor, so you can make sure you get them to focus on what you really do need so you can get back to running.
The first thing is, we all know we need to sleep, but you may want a luxurious place to sleep. We all need to go to work, but you may want a really nice car to drive to work. Those are different things. Well, understanding the difference between these things, you’ve got to really understand that when you got a running injury, your wants and your needs are kind of similar in many ways and you have to help your doctor understand that. You need to heal your over-training injury, but you really want to run and you need to maintain your running fitness. This is where the confusion comes in.
So when you go in and you tell the doctor, say, “Look, I want to run.” And they say, “You can’t run, you need to recover from your injury.” Say, “I know, but I want to run. If I just recover from my injury by sitting around doing nothing for all the time it takes for it to heal, I’m not going to be able to run because I’m going to lose all my running fitness. I’m going to get weaker, I’m going to get stiffer, I’m going to lose all of my neuromuscular connections, I’m going to be less coordinated, and I’m going to be more likely to get another over-training injury later.” So you have to realize that wanting to maintain your running fitness is not just a want. It is really and truly a need if you have a running injury.
Many doctors will try to use guilt and shame to try to get you to decrease your activity to make their job easier. Because the fact is, if you’re my patient and you have Achilles tendonitis or a plantar plate sprain or something like that and you don’t do any activity at all, it’s a lot easier to get that injury to calm down faster. But that does not necessarily meet your overall goal of getting you back to running. And the fact is, is that if you don’t walk and you don’t run, you don’t put stress on that part.
But you can oftentimes maintain your running fitness while putting a lot less stress on that injured part. Because if you’re a runner and you really want to get back to running, you have to focus on your wants and you have to try to increase your activity that actually will get you back to running. But you just have to make sure that you’re not going to put as much stress on that injured piece of tissue. That is something you really need to do.
If you think about this, you can get better faster if you go in and explain this to your doctor. And the biggest difference between the people that get help from the doctors the way they need it, is they go in and they explain what they really want to do, what their goals are, and why the injury is actually interfering with that goal.
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