You’ve heard the common sentiment “no pain, no gain” among sports and levels of fitness. Endurance athletes often prescribe to the notion that pushing through the discomfort is just part of the training equation. But the truth is that pain can lead to a running injury.
The flaw in the “no pain, no gain” theory lies in the distinction between types of sports related pain. Muscle fatigue, soreness, and stiffness are one thing. But joint pain? That is a different scenario.
The only way to recover from a sports-related injury is for the athlete to recognize that there is indeed an injury. The United States Marine Corps had once trained soldiers by saying “pain is just weakness leaving your body,” Britta Gilbert, a physical therapist at Results Rehab and Fitness in Fairfax, Va., says that there is a difference between muscle soreness from a challenging workout and actual joint pain. Joint pain is actually “cartilage leaving your body” and should not be ignored.
Identifying a Sports or Running Injury:
The road-map to recovering from an injury starts first with identification. Reaching the point of frustration and pain with a running injury will look different for each runner. Knowing when aches and pains need to be seen by a doctor instead of just treated with ice and stretching can be difficult.
A good indication that it is time to call your doctor is when you have pain that causes swelling, reduces your mobility and motion, or restricts you from weight-bearing activity. Delaying a call to your doctor can increase inflammation and make matters worse.
What type of doctor should I call?
The front line in identifying a sports or running injury are orthopedic and sports medicine physicians. These physicians will order x-rays or MRI scans to pinpoint the injury. If you are not sure which type of orthopedist to call, your family doctor can be a great first step and resource in the identification process.
According the the National Institutes of Health, the most common sports injuries are:
- Knee Injuries
- Achilles tendon injuries
Runners have their own list of potential injuries from the frequent pounding on their joints. Because of the way that female bodies are built-women runners-are especially prone to hip-related pains and injuries. Some of the most common running-specific injuries are:
- Lliotibial Band Syndrome
- Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome)
- Stress Fractures
- Plantar fasciitis
- Labral tears of the hip
The good news is that with time, patience, and persistence, it is possible to recover from a sports or running injury.