by Allan Besselink
Is It Really An Injury?
When training for any event, be it your first 5K or your 10th marathon, there are always going to be some nagging aches and pains. As you place demands on your body, it has to then recover from the training sessions and adapt to the imposed demands. During this process of training-recovery, your muscles, bones, and tissues undergo transformation. At some times, when the ability to recover is less than the training demand, an injury may occur.
But how do I know that it’s an injury? I have little aches and pains all the time. How do I know that this is something that I need to have assessed?
The first asks some basic questions – where are you feeling the discomfort, for how long has it been bothering you?
The second set of question that need to be ask will help determine the status of your injury status – or, better yet, the need to have the current condition (whatever it is) assessed by a medical practitioner. There are three primary questions:
If you answered yes to any of these it is time to see a “medical professional”.
If you answered no to ALL of these but there is still something bothering you we need to follow some there advice.
Difference between “hurt & harm”:
Now, I am sure you’re saying, “well, it doesn’t really cause me to limp TOO much” or something like that! This is where self-responsibility (and good self-care) come into play. Listening to your body is critical to effective training. Pain is one of your body’s primary feedback mechanisms. There is a difference between “hurt” and “harm” – and knowing how to differentiate between these two is key to understanding the injury process.
“Hurt” would be an awareness of symptoms that don’t increase during the training activity – and, 20 to 30 minutes after activity, have fully subsided. “Hurt” is generally an indicator that you are stressing the tissues but not producing any damage to the tissues. This indicates would that you should monitor the status of the issue, to adjust training loads, or to emphasize other recovery-based aspects of the program (such as strength training, massage, nutritional adjustments, etc).
“Harm”, on the other hand, would be an awareness of symptoms that increase during the training activity and persist for greater than 20 to 30 minutes after you’ve stopped. This suggests that it’s time to have the problem assessed by a professional. There are different levels depending on what you would like to do.
Is It An Injury or Under-Recovery?
So … you’ve answered a hearty “no” to the first three questions. “Yippeee” you proclaim … maybe I don’t have an injury! Perhaps the awareness you have is related to a decreased ability of your body to adapt to the current training demands – either too much, or too soon. This is where we go into the next section that deals with the primary elements that prevent injury and foster good recovery from your training. Have you been integrating strength training, use of the Trigger point products, nutrition and recovery information, etc. into your training plan? These components are built in to the program to assist you – to help you stay injury-free. For many athletes that are having “hurt” (as opposed to “harm”), these elements are enough to resolve any minor issues that are being experienced. You may also decide to meet with one a doctor or massage theraphyist – all providing any of a number of adjunct training or recovery-focused services. This could include instruction in running mechanics (supplemental to the Rogue programs), nutritional guidance, massage therapy, and others. Again, “knowledge” is key in making good decisions about your self-care. Being responsible and listening to the feedback your body provides are the most important factors in maintaining a healthy and safe training environment.
The Injury Recovery Process
Most running injuries are related to the body being unable to adapt readily to the imposed training demands. Although “complete rest may at times be a part of the short-term solution, it is generally not a complete solution. Tissues respond and adapt to movement and become stronger when they are challenged in an appropriate fashion. With this in mind, an active approach to injury recovery is accepted in the literature to be the most effective in the greatest number of cases. So let’s say that you’ve made that first appointment to see your provider. There can be a great deal of apprehension prior to this initial meeting, so I would suggest creating a list of questions regarding your problem in advance. What is the cause? Will I be able to return to training? What is the prognosis? What steps do I need to take to resolve this issue? Are other adjunctive therapies such as physical therapy or massage therapy indicated for this problem? Though oftentimes the providers are faced with challenging schedules, it is fair to request their answer to your questions! As they say – “Knowledge is power” – and having an understanding of your problem with help assist in finding solutions. I would always be aware of any provider that is not prepared to discuss your concerns with you, or someone that seems uninterested in your eventual return to running. In the same vein, and given that most running injuries will be responsive to an active approach, if you’re not seeing a perceptible change in the status of your problem over 3 to 4 visits, then it is strongly suggested that you discuss this with your provider(s). Perhaps other adjunctive therapies are indicated – or that the current approach isn’t working for your problem. The goal at Rogue is to guide your return to running – and we have many providers that can assist this process. Along the way, there is an Injury Forum on the Rogue website. Though this will never be a substitute for active interaction with your provider, it would be a place to ask questions and share information.
Acupuncture Go With The Flo, 294-6925 Karen Smith
Chiropractic Advanced Rehabilitation, 467-1100 Dr. AJ Zielinski
Running Mechanics Go With The Flo, 294-6925 Karen Smith
Rogue Training Systems 280-5722 Carmen Troncoso
Smart Sport International 914-0871 Allan Besselink, PT
Performance Therapy Tools Trigger Point Technologies 524-2804 Cassidy Phillips
Family practice – sports medicine fellowship Texas Sports and Family Medicine, 473-0201 Dr. Robin McCarty, Dr. Mark Chassay, Dr. Mark Hutchens
Orthopedics Sports Performance International708-8834Dr. Ted Spears Orthotics
Elite Feet Orthotics ,626-2323 Tammy Harbison
Forward Motion Pedorthics ,914-8338Bill Stone
Physical Therapy, Smart Sport International ,914-0871 Allan Besselink, PT
Scott Welsh, M.D. Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, 301-9922