Most of us fitness addicts tend to have the “no pain, no gain” attitude when we start to feel a pain or an ache somewhere. Well I ask you to reconsider that mentality, whether you are a newbie or not, any consistent pain should not be disregarded. You certainly don’t want to be the cause of your own misery nor do you want to have to take time off because you refused to listen to your own body?!?
It’s just that simple, if you experience a new pain you should stop the activity you are doing if it is aggrevating. You should apply ice when it is a strain, a one-time injury or if you are noticing swelling of the area. If the pain persists more than 24 hours and you know that it is not muscular due to a different workout and muscles being woken up…then you should consult a doctor/sports specialist. Then, there are also “overuse injuries” which happen as a result of a specific repetitive movement of areas of your body. These injuries can be prevented or treated with a slow progression of the intensity and duration of the exercise as well as strengthening of the joints around the affected area. Let’s look at a common overuse injury: “Shin Splints”.
Shin splints (also referred to as “medial tibial stress syndrome”) are caused by an overuse or over straining of the tibia ; tight and under developped calf muscles can also be a result of this injury. How can you tell if you’ve got it? Well for those of us who have experienced it- we could describe it as sharp pains down the front of your tibia- they often get more inflammed when you continue to walk or run on it. They can be treated by icing (10 minutes on, 20 minutes off and repeating 3-4X) as well as by stretching the calf muscles & strenghtening the ankle and knee joints through exercise. The biggest struggle for runners who experience shin splints is that they don’t want to rest, you NEED to rest to allow it time to heal! If the above statement screams out your name, then perhaps you should consider cross training options such as using a stationnary bike, rowing machine, elliptical or stairmaster: while on these alternative machines you will be experiencing a different impact which will allow time for the inflammed area to heal. Read more about shin splints and other common running injuries here.
Just remember, if something hurts- it is your body’s way of telling you that what you are doing is NOT good! You’ve either increased your mileage too fast, not given yourself enough recovery time, etc… Listen to your body and don’t ignore aches and pains! Until next time, keep moving… (but safely)…