In a month, my office will be packed with people who have avoided the treadmill and the winter weather and have quickly increased their mileage to be able to attend the early spring races. With this ramp up in training, many will develop aches and pains, some of which seem to come and go, some of which are intensifying, but all of which they are trying desperately to ignore, in hopes of being able to just get through the big race.
What runners and people in general fail to realize though is that if you deal with the problem when you feel the pain, you most likely will be able to correct it or at least start taking steps to correct it. There are things that can be done at home right away after you feel an ache or a pain to help alleviate the signs and symptoms. My new book, Run Better Not Less, goes through the necessary steps to take when you start feeling pain and what to look for and what not to ignore. Injuries such as plantar fasciitis, hamstring strains, groin strains, IT band tendinitis and many more are discussed.
Don't ignore the pain…
One of the things that I hear most often in my office is how people have been feeling pain for months, but they ignored it, hoping it would go away. Many times I hear that someone felt pain for a few weeks and they ran through it and the pain finally went away. No, the pain did not just go away. Your body found a way to compensate so you did not feel the pain anymore. Your body, which is highly intelligent, made changes to your foot, your hip, your back, any body part that it could so it would no longer feel pain. You were unaware of these adjustments, but now what started as a pain in your back or hip, has turned into knee pain as well as hip pain.
But keep on running…
While the book is not meant to take the place of a visit to a medical professional, it is meant to fill the gap between when you first start to notice pain and when you eventually get an appointment. Many people when they feel pain stop running and wait; they take two weeks off and do nothing. Then, thinking that the injury or pain has magically disappeared, they start running again. If you feel pain when you are running and it is not due to a traumatic injury, like a fall, then you are having pain that taking time off of running is not going to cure. It may at first and it may for a few months but eventually it will come back. And when it comes back, it will be more intense or it may come more frequent or it may even involve more than just the part that hurt in the first place.
Taking time off from running and doing nothing will allow the inflammation to calm down and that is why the pain will stop. But when you start running again, the reasons that you had pain will perpetuate and the inflammation will start to form again. This may take days, weeks or even month for this to happen and in the meantime it could also be affecting the other joints.
By following a few simple steps at home some of the pain could have been alleviated the minute that it was started. Foam rolling and strengthening are two of the big things that are reviewed and gone through in depth for each injury. Many injuries occur due to muscle imbalances, such as trigger points, and weakness and this book goes through techniques for each injury. Very seldom is the answer take two weeks off and do nothing. Through specific foam rolling, icing, stretching and strengthening programs all which can be done at home, the injury can start to be healed without taking any time off of running and you will be able to make great strides before even stepping foot into a doctor's office.
With so many races just around the corner, this will be the only at-home guide you need when you begin to question whether you should continue running or not. Let me help you run better, not less.
Sports Doc readers can score a $5 discount on Dr. Moore's new book, if they call Total Performance PT at 215-997-9898 and mention this article.