Would collagen supplementation help an interstitial tear and a runner? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
Today’s episode actually comes from Olivia who asked a question on the Doc On The Run YouTube channel and what she said was, “I believe I’m dealing with an interstitial tear. Would supplementing collagen help the healing process?”
Well, that’s a great question and first of all, an interstitial tear just means that you have within a tendon or ligament, within the middle of it, there’s a little bitty tear. So, if you were to actually, in surgery for example, open up the foot and look at the tendon or look at the ligament and just look at the outside of it, you wouldn’t see anything wrong. But if you had an MRI or an ultrasound that showed that there was a little line of fluid within that tendon in the middle of it, or within that ligament like the plantar plate ligament for example, well that’s what an interstitial tear is.
You can get these things in tendons, you can get them in the plantar plate ligament, in the plantar fascia, lots of different places, but all of those tendons and ligaments are made of collagen. So, it seems reasonable that collagen supplementation might help the healing process.
What’s really interesting though, is that number one, I don’t even know what kind of interstitial tear Olivia has, so I can’t recommend anything to her. I can’t provide medical advice to her because I don’t even know what she’s talking about if it’s a tendon or ligament or what. I also don’t know anything about her nutrition or whether or not it might actually help to supplement it but supplements are just that. They’re supplemental to the diet that you normally eat.
Collagen, when you do collagen supplementation, the idea is that it supports healthy maintenance of structures made of collagen and I use collagen sometimes in my smoothie when I make a recovery smoothie.
In order to actually really think about this though, one thing that you have to consider is that if you just do a search online for collagen, you look up some popular brands or any brand of college and for that matter, and you actually read the packaging on the collagen jar or tub itself. What you’re going to find is something like “Your licensed healthcare provider can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition to assist you and help you decide whether or not any kind of dietary supplement or vitamins or anything like that is going to help you in your regimen” or it may say something like “The information provided is for informational purposes and these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration”, it might say something like “Various studies suggest the benefits of following consumption daily collagen for several months”, implying that it should help you but they never ever state that it will treat some specific disease or some specific condition like an interstitial tear. Why? Because there aren’t any studies that prove that it works.
Just because we don’t have a study proving that it works, doesn’t mean that it won’t help. But you have to decide talking to your doctor about whether or not collagen supplementation would be right for you or not. In all the courses I have on self-diagnosis and self-treatment of these conditions where you’re trying to figure out how to diagnose it yourself, you’re trying to figure out how to treat it yourself, I often talk about collagen and explain in more detail the ways it can work, the ways it can help, but you have to factor in all of these different things.
So, it is a great question, Olivia. Unfortunately, I can’t give any direct medical advice because I don’t know you. I haven’t talked to you and I don’t really know anything about your condition. But it is true that collagen makes up about 70% of the connective tissues in your body. And so, if you’re trying to repair collagen, it’s probably important to have the basic building blocks in terms of amino acids that you actually can get from a supplemental dietary source like collagen supplements.
Whether or not you’re taking enough of it, whether or not you’re taking it the right time, all of those things vary. But there are no studies that I’m aware of that actually prove that doing collagen supplementation will fix your injury if you have an interstitial tear. So, you got to talk to your doctor. You got to explain the situation and you got to make sure that you’re getting the right treatment for you, so you can get back to running as quickly as possible.
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