When to Seek Help for a Running Injury:
Running is a contact sport. Not in the way football or hockey is because hopefully you are not being tackled or checked against a tree, but you are consistently taking a beating from the ground. As a matter fact, each time the foot hits the ground there is a force 3x the body weight going through the body. That means a 200 lb person is going to have 600lbs going through each leg with each step of the run. That sure sounds like it would hurt. Needless to say it often does start to cause increased pain throughout the body but most commonly in the knee. Every runner will get aches and pains when they run which often does not warrant further medical treatment; however, sometimes the pain continues to persist and may be more serious. Below are my recommendations when to seek medical treatment.
1. If the pain has not gone away with two weeks of rest and self management.
2. If the pain level is high and persistent at rest for more than three days and/or includes swelling, numbness, tingling or other unexplained symptoms.
3. If you have no pain at rest but every time you try running again the pain returns.
4. If you are dependent on taking pain medication to continue running.
5. If you are training for a race and don’t want to lose training time.
I often hear stories of people saying they stopped running due to shin splints or their knee started to hurt but that they expected it because they were getting older. These kinds of stories are sad to me because these people gave up a healthy activity that they enjoyed due to pain without even seeking medical treatment from a qualified doctor or physical therapist. In closing, I think it is important to not be on either side of the spectrum, meaning you should expect some aches and pains with running that can most likely be self-managed but when that is not working then you have to listen to your body, stop running, and seek medical treatment.
As always feel free to email with any questions regarding an injury.
Alex Volfson PT,DPT
Bon Secours St. Francis Physical Therapy