How an injury happened is much more important than what happened. Does that make sense? Well, I don’t know, but that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
During a recent call with a runner who was signed up for a series of concierge calls, if you want to call it that, where he calls me several times a week and we’re trying to work through this injury. We were having a talk and I just said, “Look, what happened to you is way more important than how it happened”, because he was trying to ask me about which particular thing really, really, really caused it and started initially.
What you’ve got to realize here, the really simple thing is that we’re all hung up on what the diagnosis is because first of all, we’re taught in medical school and in all of our medical training, surgical residencies, all this stuff, it’s all telling us that the way that you see patients in America is you come up with a particular name called a diagnosis for a condition, and then you do something you can charge the insurance for, which has a thing called a CPT code. And you come up with a CPT code, you make sure that matches the diagnosis code and you send them a bill and they’ll send you a check.
It’s beaten into us that you have to come up with the name before you even come up with the treatment and that affects us as runners because it’s not necessarily true that it would work that way. And what do I mean by that? Well, how you cause the pain is way more important than the name that you put on the pain, and how fast it responds is more critical to getting you back to running than actually calling it some specific thing.
Let’s say that you have a stress fracture, you have tendonitis, you have a sprain, you have some running injury. What you really need to do is not what is the name that is followed by this particular treatment that they use for every person who are not even athletes. You want to know, what is the thing that you can do that will decrease the stress and strain to that structure so that you can continue training, maintain your running fitness and get back to running sooner?
But think about that for a second. You need to know how you can avoid doing it again, so how it happened and the type of run that you were doing. For example, I was talking to a guy, he said he was running on sand. He’d been doing great, and then he did his morning workout. Everything was great, and then he went for run on sand and it really set him back. Well, the sand’s really unstable.
What does that mean? Well, it means that you shouldn’t run on unstable things. If you’re going to run on grass or on sand, or on really muddy surfaces, probably want to wear shoes that have a whole lot more stability. In that case, how that thing happened is way more important than what the actual irritation around his ankle or in the arch actually might be, because you know the solution is to not have that amount of instability underneath you.
When you start thinking about your injury, instead of just trying to come up with the name for it and then pretend that there is some timeline attached to that name, you need to think about how it actually happened so that you can, number one, not do it again when you’re running. But also, that you can avoid the things that simulate that motion as you add exercises now to maintain your running fitness and start running again. That’s the crucial piece.
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