Friday, March 22, 2013

How soon is too soon after injury?


Painful Calves? Read about important things to watch for. #running #injury #painful #calves #tips
Here I sit in the midst of yet another running concern over this stupid hamstring. It has been nearly 2 weeks off (minus the half last weekend) filled with plenty of foam rolling and icing. I have continued with strength training and cross training (elliptical and spin) and increased my stretching during this time. My other bad habit just behind running through pain is returning too soon. Last year was a great example, I came back a little early to run Boston felt fine but quickly realized I needed to take a little more time and this cycle continued all year.

This time I am taking a new approach and attempting at great work to listen and be smart. This was actually pretty easy when it hurt and then earlier this week considering the 40+ mph winds and temps near 0! But now I am pan free and the weather is looking better, if 30s can be better, so here I sit wondering what I should do. Hamstring issues have a high re-injury rate if the return is too soon.

How do you know when to return? 4 criteria to determine readiness (source)

  • Pain: Pain free not only with walking but also when impacting through activities like one leg jumping. I have been pain free since Tuesday even with rolling.
  • Strength: 4 consecutive repetitions of maximum strength test in knee flexion without pain. Yesterday I managed 3 sets of single leg presses without pain or decrease in strength.
  • Flexibility: Full range of motion at baseline. After a couple could stretching session earlier in the week I am finally back to baseline.
  • Functional Activities: Running specific activities with quick direction changes without pain or limitation. My trainer incorporated side lunges and jumps which I managed.





The good news is I am 4 for 4 on this list although my flexibility still sucks but that’s my baseline. Much different than my previous life as a dancer! So what to do: give it a trial run tomorrow? This is my plan, now to not get sucked into the group’s plan to run long. What is your key to determining return to running? Do you come back too early?

I almost have an easier time returning after a bigger injury when it it s obvious and the return program is slow. This will mean more listening and trying to be smart as I have 7 week until marathon day and plenty of time to build back. I plan to continue to roll and ice post workout. Luckily I have access to a sports medicine doctor who has also given me advice.

16 comments:

  1. Just take it easy girl and listen to your body if you feel any hint of pain!

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    1. That's my plan, not afraid to walk if it hurts :)

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  2. Runners are known for coming back to soon. And I've learned not to listen to myself- I can always convince myself that I'm fine much sooner than I really am! Ease back in slowly... glad you're already feeling better!

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    1. Runners are stubborn people for sure!

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  3. strange I have been running for a while and am just learning about foam rolling..Marathon Mom I'm counting you to get well soon. luv @runningbloggers

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    1. Thanks. Don't worry I ran for almost 10 years before I started foam rolling!

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  4. I don't technically have a running injury (or maybe I do) but after I run regardless of fast, slow, length, whatever my hips ache. Simetimes to the point it's hard to walk. I just do other things for two days. That's why I don't get much running in. :-)

    Good luck on your run. It sounds like you're doing all the right things.

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    1. Oh no, hope the hips are feeling better, take it easy.

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  5. Probably "too soon" is when you think you are ready but have to justify why. ;-) I'm sure I should wait a few more days than I usually am willing to!

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    1. I agree, and I am often justifying why it is okay to run and not rest.

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    2. I think you hit the nail on the head!!

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  6. It is so hard not to come back early after an injury. A few years ago I injured my back, and came back to teaching spinning and all my other classes way too soon. This caused my recovery time to multiply.
    Sending hugs for your hamstring!

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    1. Thanks, we all do this too much trying to be tough and work through it.

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  8. I learned the hard way about coming back too early and too much too soon. Now my rule of thumb is if I can make it to the end of my block totally pain and tightness free I will keep running. If not, I turn around and walk home. I guess I finally started listening to my body and making smarter decisions. Better late than never :)

    Feel better soon!

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    1. Kind of my rule too, if it isn't good after a few minutes to warm up then time to stop. Why does it take us so long to learn to listen?

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