What do injured runners do that makes about as much sense as picking at a healing skin incision? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
Today we’re talking about fracture healing versus skin incision healing and this talk comes from a discussion I had at the International Foot and Ankle Foundation meeting in Hawaii where I was recently given a lecture on runners heel pain to a whole roomful of doctors.
A doctor asked me a question about how to get a runner back to running as quickly as possible after one of these injuries and the doctor said, “Well, you know, what if you just let them walk and run and check the fracture healing and see if they’re really ready to move to the next level of activity by kind of testing things out?” And what he said was, “Would you take out stitches three days after surgery to just see if the wound would pop open? I said, “Why would you take a patient who’s been on crutches after surgery, why would you do that?”
Like why would you put them on crutches, why would you not let him just walk right out of the operating room and he said, “because the fusion site or the fracture site will heal faster” and I said right, because it will heal faster if the fracture will heal faster after you break it or after you do surgery if you don’t walk on it, and we know that it will heal if you let the patient walk right after surgery sooner or later.
So, the answer is yes. Will it heal? Yes, probably eventually and will it heal as fast as if you let the patient walk right after surgery or right after a fracture? No, at least probably not. So, if a runner has a stress fracture and it hurts to walk on it, will it heal as fast as possible? The answer is no. But that is what most injured runners do. The pain is stopping you from running and yet if the pain is walking is causing pain, then you have to assume that it’s going to slow down the healing and eventually slow down your progress that’s going to actually get you back to running.
You have to think about this if you have pain after a stress fracture, if you have pain after a tendon injury, if you have pain after any kind of overtraining injury at all, that means that you’re actually stressing the injure piece of tissue. And if you’re walking and causing pain, that walking is killing your progress and really slowing down your capacity to get back to running as quickly as possible. So that’s what I really think about that, you know, and I just said in this talk, which is where this episode came from, I said an injured runner who’s walking on a foot that hurts make as much sense to me as picking at a healing skin incision.
If you have a stress fracture, and it hurts when you walk in on it, you’re doing something wrong, and you got to think about what you can do that’s going to speed things up instead.
If you want to check out more about the specifics about stress fractures and how it can help you make a few adjustments to get back to running faster, check out the stress fracture masterclass, you can get it for free at www.docontherun.com/stressfracturemasterclass. So, check it out, and I’ll see you in the training.