Dealing with an injury.
If you're a runner there is every chance, that at some point, you will have to learn to deal with an injury. In fact, the statistics tell us that up to 70% of recreational and competitive runners will sustain an overuse injury during any 12-month period. Overuse injuries are more common than an acute injury (think ankle sprain) and are generally a result of too much too soon. Increased running frequency, distance or speed are the likely culprits.
The most common overuse injuries are patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee), iliotibial band friction syndrome (outside of knee), plantar fasciitis (heel pain), medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints) and patellar tendinopathy (knee cap tendon pain).
Overuse injuries also tend to follow a pattern.
Initially you might feel a little niggle during the first 5 - 10 minutes of running that disappears as you "warm up". You decide to ignore the pain because it "gets better" and you don't want to miss out on a run.
You keep following your running program.
Suddenly you notice that the pain is there at the start of the run, yes it improves as you “warm up” but you now have pain at the end of the run. “It’s all good” you think to yourself because there’s no pain the following day and figure you can keep running
"Must follow my training program!!"
“Can’t miss a run!”
“I’ll lose fitness if I don’t run”
“I’m meant to do a long run today, and I love my long run, so I’m running!”
“If I don’t run I will go MAD!”
So, you keep on running, following your program until eventually you can’t. See now the pain gets worse the more you run and you find yourself walking the last section home.
And if you keep ignoring the pain signals your body is sending you, continue to run, you reach the point of having pain or discomfort all the time – even when you’re not running.
So, what to do?
Listen to your body. Pain is a warning sign that something is wrong and needs to be addressed.
And please, don’t rely on Dr Google or Social Media to work out what the problem is. It is, absolutely, worth seeking out a professional opinion by your preferred choice of healthcare provider.
The sooner you know and address whatever the cause of the problem is the less time off running you will need and that’s the best possible outcome.