Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast, we’re talking about how it is that the longer you wait, the more pain you can expect when you actually return to running after you get an over-training injury.
When you get injured, a lot of things go wrong.
1. Because you have pain, you suspect you have to stop training.
2. When you see a doctor, they confirm your fear and tell you that you really need to rest.
You translate that into really strict rest, doing nothing basically. You stop exercising. You stop training.
All kinds of bad stuff starts to happen. It is a lot more than just losing aerobic fitness.
You start getting stiffness. You’re going to have poor form if you’re not running. You’re going to be uncoordinated. You’re going to have muscle atrophy and weakness simply because your training has gone from your usual amount to zero.
You have to remember that when you get back to running, there is going to be pain of some variety almost all the time. What we don’t want to have is that you have the same kind of pain you have when you started training. You do not want to have the pain that resembles your injury. If you had a second metatarsal stress fracture and you remember where you had this aching pain in your foot and you feel pain somewhere else, that’s okay. But if you feel pain in that spot where that metatarsal is, not okay. If your achilles tendon had an injury and you’re starting to train and you feel that same achiness in that area where you had your injury that reminds you of your injury, that’s a bad thing, but pain otherwise is different.
What do I mean by that? Well, you’re going to get pain for lots of different reasons. The most common reason is that you’re rebuilding muscle, you’re sore, you’re weak, you just feel achy all over because you haven’t been running in a while. You’re going to feel oddly sore in lots of places because you’ve been off of running much longer than you have in years. Some of that’s just rebuilding your fitness. You’re also going to oftentimes get pain maybe even in your foot if you had a stress fracture from some of the little strands of unnecessary scar tissue pulling apart in different areas. If you’re in a cast or a fracture walking boot, you’re more likely to actually feel that.
But, you’ve got to remember that you’re going to have pain of some variety. When I talk to runners either in the injured runners aid station or on second opinion calls, webcam calls, phone calls, people that call me for help, well, when I’m talking to them and they’re telling me they’re having pain, the main thing I ask them is where is the pain? If it’s not where the injury was, most of the time, I’m not really worried about it, particularly if that pain that they feel does not last for a long period of time and it’s not reproducible.
If you have a metatarsal stress fracture and you run on it and it hurts and you push on it later, well, you’re reproducing your pain and that would be a bad sign, but you’ve got to remember that some pain is okay. In fact, in some respects, when you have pain, when you start running, that’s the sensation you can get when the weakness is leaving your body. It just can’t be in the same spot. That’s the main thing to remember.
If you enjoyed this, please like it, please share it, and I’ll see you in the next training.