Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast, we’re talking about how to get tailored treatment instead of some cookie cutter treatment plan when you go to the doctor with an overtraining injury.
Let’s say you’re out on a run, you go out and you’re doing your long run, you’ve been training hard for an event, and your foot starts to ache a little bit. Well, it worries you, but it’s not killing you. So you finish your run and you go home. The next day when you wake up, it hurts. You step out of bed, you’re kind of limping to the bathroom. It doesn’t feel so great. You of course are worried about it, but you don’t think that much about it. So maybe you take a day off, you don’t run that day, you skip a workout. You have a little bit of anxiety because you skip a workout, but then the next day it doesn’t really hurt as much. So you go for a run and predictably it gets worse.
So what do you do? Well, see, maybe you post something on Facebook and you put a picture of your bruised foot on there, and what do you get? Somebody says, “Oh, have you tried essential oils?” And somebody else says, “Maybe you should take some ibuprofen and go for a run.” And some smart Alex says, “Oh, I think we need to amputate.”
After that, you don’t really get any useful advice from that. So what do you do? Well, you call your local podiatrist. You make an appointment and when you schedule an appointment, you go in, you sit down in the waiting room. You look around the waiting room when you’re filling out those forms and what do you see? Well, in the corner over there, there’s an old man with a walker, there’s a little girl with a bandage on her toe, and there’s a guy who looks like he’s going to have a heart attack just trying to get out of the chair, and then parked over there next to all the chairs, there’s a woman on a powered scooter who can’t even walk at all.
Now, why do I bring that up? Well, is it possible that if you have the exact same injury, every single one of you, all five of you in the waiting room, if all of those people in the waiting room had the exact same injury, is it even remotely possible that all of you would heal at exactly the same rate? That all of you would need to just stop all activity? That all of you would need to come back in two weeks for an x-ray? That all of you would actually take six weeks to heal, or 12 weeks to heal, or a year to heal? Does that make any sense at all?
If you just look at all those people, and you can tell for sure that the little girl, well, she’s a little magic healing machine, she’s going to heal faster than you. And the old guy that looks like he’s going to have a heart attack when he gets out of his chair, well, he is definitely going to take longer than you to heal.
So the thing is, when you go to the doctor and you see those people, and then the doctor hands you a pre-written sheet that is not designed for runners, it’s designed for anybody that comes in with a metatarsal stress fracture or with plantar fasciitis or with Achilles tendonitis, those instruction sheets are not written for runners, they’re written for everyone who has that injury. It’s supposed to fit everybody, but that doesn’t make any sense.
How do you get tailored treatment? How do you go into the doctor and say, “Look, I have an injury, but I’m super healthy. I eat really healthy. I protect my sleep. I actually hydrate, I do all of these things that I know help me heal and recover faster after hard workout. And It just stands to reason that if I do all of these things to recover faster after my hard workouts, it seems like I should recover faster after I have an over-training injury, like a stress fracture or Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis or something like that.”
You have to stop the doctor and you say, “Okay, look, I want you to think about where I actually am in this healing process, and I want you to actually tailor the treatment and adjust it so that I can actually maintain my running fitness and get back to running faster.”
I would imagine that if you’ve been in a doctor’s office and you think about actually saying that out loud, it makes you a little uncomfortable, and it should, but it’s necessary. So it’s okay for you to ask for tailored treatments. It’s okay to say, “Look, I know that’s the normal treatment, but don’t you think it’s possible that if I do some extra things, that I might actually recover a little bit faster and be able to do some other things to maintain my fitness through that process?”
But you will have to stop the doctor and actually insist on it. And again, that’s going to make you uncomfortable because most of the time when you get ready to say that, the doctor is going to already have her hand on the doorknob of the treatment room, ready to go see another patient. So remember, those protocols are there to help normal doctors with normal practices speed everything up in the office, so they can see a ton of patients.
So if you get to the doctor and you want tailored treatment, ask for it. It’s a reasonable thing. You’re there to get the help that you need, not the help that they normally give out to everybody. And it’s okay to ask for it. So prepare yourself. Take somebody with you who’s an advocate, somebody who’s going to kind of back you up a little bit. And if you do that, you can actually get a plan that’s going to help you get back to running a whole lot faster.
Thanks for listening. If you like this episode, please like it, please share it, and I’ll see you in the next training.