Many runners that visit Balanced Osteopathy for the first time may have delayed booking their first appointment out of fear they'll be told to stop running. That 'dreaded' 4 letter word 'REST'. In reality it's not often that we have to tell someone to stop running, it's pretty rare in our clinic. However, as a runner, knowing when to keep running or when to rest and seek professional advice is a tricky area, and prolonging going to see someone can mean you're making things worse. So here's our guide to navigating through that grey area of whether to run through pain, or whether to rest and seek professional help.
So you're training for an event, a half marathon or full marathon for example, and on one of your long runs you get a pain. Ask yourself these questions:
Is the pain getting worse the further I go? Or was it there at the start and it's getting easier the more I run? If your pain is increasing as you go further, this is a pretty good indicator you should cut this run short, get out the oyster and get public transport back home.Running further in this instance is only going to make things worse, even if only in the short term.
Am I limping? If yes, this is probably a good time to take a raincheck on the rest of this run. No good will come from this. Your clever body has found a way to keep you moving forward on this niggle/pain, but it's at the expense of other structures which are now working harder because you are avoiding using the painful bit.
Everything else, you're probably fine to keep running on as a general rule of thumb. Try a few stretches to see if you can ease symptoms in the moment, or try mixing up your pace which will change how you land, to see if this helps for this run. Where possible perhaps change the terrain e.g. knee pain from running on muddy trails might be totally fine when you switch back on to the road.
Your run at the weekend didn't go so well, you got half way through and had a pain, but it wasn't so bad that you had to stop running. Can I run again? Ask yourself these questions:
Can I walk/ go up and down stairs without pain? Don't run before you can walk is not just a life inspirational quote/motto, it's actually pretty good injury guidance. If you have pain walking around then you really shouldn't try to run on it right now, book yourself in to see a professional ASAP, we have some pretty good ones here ;)
Has the pain lasted more than a day post run? Often when something gets irritated during a run, it will be a little sore the following 24 hours or so. If it goes after that and you can't feel it at all any more, then you should be fine to try a shorter run. If you're totally fine during and after that run? It was probably just a niggle and you're good to go! However, if the pain lingers for more than a day, or if you were ok to try that second or maybe third run but the pain just keeps cropping up, modify your mileage to a level that doesn't irritate it too much and get yourself an appointment to see your favourite osteos. In this instance, unless you have some sort of bone injury, the likelihood is you can continue running whilst you have treatment/ do rehab, so don't delay, book in asap rather than prolonging the inevitable and making something that can be easily fixed, in to something more serious.
We hope that helps! If you're struggling with an injury and need some help, you can click here to book to see one of our team.