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4 Injuries You Should Never Train Through

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.

3. Hip Pain

What it is: “There are many causes of hip pain in endurance athletes, from hip impingement, gluteal tendinitis, iliotibial band syndrome, to tendinitis, tears, and stress fractures in the hip.

Why it happens: Hip pain can be the result of decreased core and gluteal stability, increasing exercise intensity and duration before your bones and muscles are strong enough to handle it, or even how your bones sit in their joints. Seeing your local sports physical therapist can help to determine the source of the pain, and more importantly figure out why you are having the pain in the first place.

Pump the breaks: Your hips are the basis of everything your body does in the gym—it doesn’t matter if you run, swim, squat, or cycle. Therefore, any pain can quickly throw off your total-body alignment and introduce new injuries. Plus, the multitude of tendons that hook into your hips receive relatively little blood supply, meaning that they won’t heal quickly—especially if you continue to stress them with exercise.

Avoid any movements that cause pain and talk to a specialist about training your core and glutes to improve pelvic stability. Exercises such as bridges, lateral walks, pain-free lunges and squats, and single-limb balances are key to promoting core and hip strength.

4. Hamstring Strains

What they are: Sudden pain or spasms that occur in at the upper leg or butt, hamstring strains occur when the muscle tears. These tears can range from microscopic to a complete detachment. While tears are relatively uncommon, they require swift doctor intervention and surgery—and are accompanied by intense bruising and swelling.

Why they happen: The cause typically comes down to imbalances between the hamstrings, quads, and glutes, but a weak core and simply not warming up properly before exercise can also contribute, Weiss says. (Also, sitting all day can lead to hamstring tightness.)

Pump the breaks: “Hamstring injuries are notorious for becoming chronic issues,” Weiss says. Until the pain subsides, or unless told otherwise by your PT, stick with cross-training activities that do not stress the legs. Think: upper-body work. Once the pain subsides, you can ease back into things though cycling and aqua jogging.

Before jumping back into your regular workouts, it’s also best to work on strengthening the hamstrings and glutes through squats, Romanian deadlifts, and hip thrusts. Start with light weights and focus on slowing down the (lowering) part of each exercise to fend off future injuries.

If you are suffering from these injuries, it may be best to rest and see a physical therapist. Our trained Doctors of Physical Therapy can help you get back on your feet and back into the best shape of your life!

You can make an appointment with our team here at Northwest Broward Orthopedics by calling 954-979-3255.

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