*Not a doctor. Remember it’s always best to consult a physician and listen to your body*
There’s a really big gray area after an injury of whether to push through pain or take to take break and recover, and if you choose to take a recovery break, how long and what can you do in the meantime? My only injuries are my legs, because I’m clumsy and a runner, so I can’t speak for other kinds of injuries.
-Article “The Art of Resting”
-Article “Recovering from an Injury In 5 Steps”
-Article “Owner’s Manual: Not “Just An Ankle Sprain”
I’m still working to recover from an injury that I didn’t treat well, and so it’s been brought to my attention that this may be a good piece for others to hear: how do I- me, personally- decide when to push and when not to, and what I’ve learned from my mistake(s).
So first of all, I should’ve seen a doctor. The pain from the injury was excruciating and while it subsided quickly, there was a heavy, lingering pain for quite a while. While it’s very like me to try to suck it up for some time, the length of time I was in pain for without seeing a professional was bad, and I knew it. I didn’t have insurance and I didn’t want to pay, then I got insurance but work was so busy I didn’t want to take off time to get checked out; this was also a mistake.
Henceforth, my health comes before my job, in reasonable terms of course.
Also, I felt pain during the activities I did after the injury and I pushed through. The pain was pretty severe, to the point of limping to finish or searing, almost unbearable pain in all cases and I did them anyway – also a mistake. It is one thing to push through some small-scale pain, it’s wrong to push through intense pain.
If you have a very high pain tolerance, or are pumping a lot of adrenaline, it’s important not to downplay the pain- which is what I did and it was bad.
I rested, as in zero activity, for a few weeks after the November race than started with low-impact training, but I can still feel myself recovering. I’ve lost so much strength. Training is immensely draining and difficult because I can’t push too hard. For one race, I extended what could have been just six months of recover (June injury) into another six months from the race. I’m looking at almost a year total of lost training time due to recovery because I didn’t see a doctor and I didn’t listen to my body.
As a cautionary tale, go to a doctor.
If you don’t want to or can’t afford a doctor and are sure nothing is broken/fractured, listen to your body. How bad is the pain? Does it increase with exertion?
In my opinion, if after an hour an injury still leaves you limping or in severe pain then it’s no question that you need to dial way back (did I mention to see a doctor?).
As for how to train after, don’t be me and run on hard sidewalk uphill in the cold (or downhill for that matter) or long distances. Try a lower-impact activity like swimming or cycling. No run, no medal, is worth doubling your recovery time, or potentially causing a lifelong issue.
Also a good option, target your core or other areas without using the injured party. I’ve done a lot of upper body and core by either sitting on a bench and working arms or by putting my feet in air and doing crunches. Even leg lifts and lying “Supermans” weren’t bad as long as I didn’t point or flex my toes. Anything that left my knee/ankle out of the equation seemed to work out okay for me. And when I finally saw a doctor, he told me in a nice way that I was an idiot and that I should’ve known better than to push like I did, and that I should’ve seen him sooner.
If you’ve figured out your threshold for training after an injury or have input on other ways to train safely after, I’d love to hear them! Please comment or share links below!
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