Is it okay to run when it’s painful?
Running is a popular form of exercise across a wide range of ages and body types. It is a fantastic form of exercise that can assist with bone density development, social interactions, mental health, cardiovascular fitness, weight loss and numerous other health benefits. As running is such an accessible sport, it is no wonder that there are so many participants across Australia. Like most sports, running can potentially lead to injury such as runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain), shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome), hip and hamstring tendinopathies, ITB syndrome, plantar fasciitis and many other musculoskeletal conditions.
Whilst injuries are a potential outcome for those who run, the health benefits far outweigh the risks. It is for this reason that we strongly encourage those who enjoy running to continue participating in their sport for as long as possible. It is possible to minimise risk of encountering running injuries with appropriate load management, specifically individualised strength training, adequate sleep and solid nutrition. However, despite accommodating for all these factors injury may persist. So how do you know when to keep running through a small niggle and when to draw a line in the sand and decide that running is doing you more harm than good?
Here are our top 3 questions to ask yourself before deciding to pull your runners on.
Are your symptoms getting worse?
Whatever your symptoms may be, if they are progressing despite your attempts to rectify them, it is worthwhile seeking a professional opinion. Small niggles can be rectified quickly, and we will do our very best to keep you running through your rehabilitation.
Are you pulling up sore the next day?
If you are waking up in pain or limping the day after a run it is a sign that your body isn’t tolerating the load you are placing on it. There are many alterations we can make to your running program in order to keep you pounding the pavement. It may be as simple as moderating your load, distance, speed or running surface to make an effective change to your symptoms.
Do your symptoms remain despite a period of rest?
You may have tried the logical course of action by resting from running for a week or two only to find the symptoms remain during your next run. Whilst active rest can be a very sensible approach for many niggles, more persistent presentations such as tendinopathies won’t get better with absolute rest. These conditions need to be appropriately loaded in order to build your tissue tolerance to equal the demands of running.
We hope these three questions can help you negotiate the decision of running with pain. If you are unsure about any of the points made in this blog, please get in contact and we will do all we can to get you back to running the way you would love to!