As a runner you have most likely not gone your whole career without any aches, pains or injuries. Some of the most common injuries tend to be muscle strains and ligaments sprains. Although these are not typically the most serious of injuries they do need to be taken care of to prevent further tissue damage or possible re-injury. When you encounter a muscle strain or ligament sprain be prepared with some basic tips to help you recover faster.
Most of you out there usually try to either run through it or just wait it out. First off it is a hassle to make time to see the doctor or most of the time you wont be in enough pain to stop. So you wait it out and it goes away, but is that actually healing anything? It may go away in a few days but I am willing to bet if you don’t take precaution it will be back, maybe not the next day but down the road you will be revisited. The best treatment for these annoying injuries is early treatment. This will also allow you to prevent these silly injuries from happening again in the future. Physical Therapists and Sports Medicine Professionals are some of the best tools out there to help your recover and prevent injury.
Rest Is Essential
I know we just talked about getting quick treatment. “Rest is Essential” is about actual rest. Not running through an injury or pushing yourself to your limits when you know you shouldn’t be. One motto that I live by is Listen To Your Body. If your body is telling you no from pain then you should probably listen to it. The the first several days of an injury are the most important for your body. Your body needs energy to repair damage tissue during the inflammatory process, if you keep grinding on an injured tissue first off it will damage it further and second your body will not be able to keep up with the break down. You will be breaking down faster then your body can build itself back up.
Ice or Heat
A lot of runners out there are always confused about whether to ice or heat during an injury. Heat is going to feel better and is usually easier to do anytime of the day because it is more comfortable. Ice is going to be your best friend though during the first few days of an injury, during the Acute phases of an injury. I would wait to consult with a trained sports medicine professional before applying heat to any injury. When you become injured your body will naturally start the inflammatory process creating swelling in a specific area. When applying heat although it may feel good will become a vasodilator and create more swelling to that area. For this reason ice will be the better option for you during the initial stages of injury as it will help eliminate excess inflammation instead of promoting it.
Adding compression to any body part will help reduce inflammation and edema. Using both ice and compression can be a really good tool to aid in the recovery process. Compression will aid in the flushing of any injury site especially in the lower body as running or activity usually requires you to be standing. This will fight against gravity prevent any pooling in the lower limbs or specific areas of irritation.
Not every injury requires Physical therapy. Chronic injuries will benefit from treatment with a physical therapist as then assist in soft tissue work to the body as well as corrective exercises. A Therapist can also help you get back into running safely especially if you are a runner who frequents injury. Treatment will help you increase strength and range of motion over time. Specific exercises can be given also to help prevent future injury with proper technique and corrective exercises.
The next time you get hurt. Don’t hesitate to get after it. Early treatment is always the best treatment.