Do you ever find yourself pushing through extreme pain when exercising? If you’re pushing through pain, you’re putting yourself at a far greater risk of losing those gains than if you were to ease up on your long runs and talk to a physical therapist.
If you’re training for a big competition or maybe you’re just a fitness enthusiast, it can be difficult to take the day off to rest and heal. We think one day of rest for your body is much better than 6 months of rehabilitation and healing from an injury!
We’ve rounded up four injuries that you should never train through. If you find yourself in constant pain or you often get these types of injuries when you start back up again, then we recommend coming in to see one of our physical therapists! Often, you could just be doing an exercise the wrong way or you have a weak body part. Our physical therapists can diagnose your weak areas and recommend exercises and movements to help strengthen and heal your body. Do you suffer from any of these common injuries?:
1. Stress Fractures
What they are: Microscopic breaks, these often happen in the feet, pelvis, or in the tibia and fibula, the bones that make up your lower leg. When they occur in the lower leg, they are often called “shin splints.” Symptoms include pain that worsens when pressing on the area, single-leg hopping, or running.
Why they happen: Stress fractures are a result of putting more stress on your bones than they can handle, typically by ramping up high-impact exercises, including running and plyometrics, too quickly.
Pump the breaks: Continue stressing the bone and that microscopic fracture can turn into a full-on break, requiring everything from casts, bedrest, or surgery. “If you have had a stress fracture, the likelihood of getting another one is quite high, so it is important to see a sports medicine physician who specializes in stress fractures in order to determine why you got it in the first place,” says Julie Khan, P.T., D.P.T., a board-certified specialist in sports physical therapy and advanced clinician with the James M. Benson Sports Rehabilitation Center at Hospital for Special Surgery. “He or she can perform blood tests to look at hormone, calcium, and vitamin D levels to ensure these blood values are normal.” Until you can run and hop sans pain, focus on low-impact activities such as cycling, swimming, running in the pool, and strength training.
2. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
What it is: Also called “runner’s knee,” patellofemoral pain syndrome is a condition in which the kneecap (a.k.a. patella) rubs on the thighbone (a.k.a. femur). Pain at the front of the knee is a common symptom, and often accompanies activities such as going down stairs, squatting, and after rigorous exercise.
Why it happens: Muscle and strength imbalances in the quads and hips, as well as excessive tightness in the connective tissues surround the knee are the usual culprits. It is most common in women and young adults.
Pump the breaks: Training through runner’s knee can lead to increased damage to and degradation of the cartilage that sits underneath your kneecap. And once you lose that, it’s gone. Talk to a sports physical therapist to evaluate your symptoms and ID the strength-training exercises that will help get your kneecap in proper alignment. Some great strength-training exercises are lateral walks, glute bridges, side-plank clams, and front planks. Until you can engage in your regular workout without pain, turn to cycling, swimming, or using the elliptical to help you maintain your cardiovascular fitness.