Got pain? Get it checked out

Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Let’s face it, the rigors of training for long distances aren’t for the faint of heart. The daily runs, growing in length, take commitment and will, for most, require the ability to handle a few aches and pains.

But how do you know when to seek medical attention for pain related to running? The incidence of injury for those training for a marathon has been reported as high as 90 percent, so don’t ignore those persistent pains—and seek help sooner rather than later:

  • Sudden pain while running. If you feel a jolt of pain that disappears, it probably isn’t something to be concerned with. But if a sudden pain persists or worsens, it’s time to visit the doctor. Sudden pain could be the sign of a tear or sprain.
  • Increasing pain while running. Runners are experts at pushing through pain, but pain that increases in intensity during a run could be an indicator of injury. Conditions like shin splints, runner’s knee or stress fractures can present with pain that worsens during a run and improves with rest. Seek attention if pain does not improve or continues to persist even with rest. Injuries such as plantar fasciitis (pain in bottom of the foot) may hurt at the beginning of the run, reduce during the run and then reoccur after rest.
  • Pain after running. Post-run pain is common and not necessarily a sign of injury, but if it’s outside your body’s normal response or if it’s persistent, it’s worth a quick assessment. Injuries with significant inflammatory processes can show up after running. Get it checked out if pain and/or inflammation does not subside.

If you are unable to bear weight or have uncontrolled bleeding, seek medical attention immediately. 

If you are not in excruciating pain, it is okay to take a few days to monitor your pain and rest before seeking medical attention. If you feel better, great! With a few pain-free days under your belt, you can start training again at a low intensity, keeping a close eye out for reoccurrence.

Add cross training to your program (if you haven’t already) to help keep running injuries at bay. But if pain continues even with rest, get an evaluation so you can recover and return to training—and reaching your fitness goals.

Linnea Omholt, PT, DPT and Luke Smith PT, DPT, CSCS, are physical therapists with Edward Rehabilitation Services and Sports Medicine.

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