Any runner will be able to tell you of their frustration when you ask them about an injury. There is never a great time to get an injury, but it usually happens at the worst possible time. The problem is not the injury itself but rather in the rehabilitation thereof.
Most runners will want to push through the pain, but that is counterproductive and does more damage than good. Here are some tips on how to rehab your injury.
Swallow your pride
When you get an injury during a run, swallow your pride and stop. Many runners find a lot of pride in the fact that they can run longer than most other people, so when an injury creeps in, they want to suck it up and keep pushing. Although it might sound like a noble thing to do, you are not doing your body any favors.
While your muscles are hot and active, the pain is subdued, but when your muscles cool down, then you need to listen to the pain and stop. Pain is the body’s way of telling you that things are not great. From there, you need to seek the input of a professional to find out what went wrong.
Listen to advice
After you visit a medical professional to diagnose your injury, the hard truth sets in. In all likelihood, they will recommend that you take it easy and rest for a couple of days, but this is easier said than done. Taking it easy does not come easy for someone whose training program is part of their life.
Asking them to rest is like asking a chef to stop cooking for a couple of days. A common reaction to the news of resting is to test out whether the news is that severe. This is to be avoided at all costs as you could undo the little healing that your body has begun.
Applying the RICE principle
A tried and tested method to start your road to recovery is to apply the RICE principle. This involves Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. For a day or two after the injury, you should wrap the injury with a compression bandage and ice it while keeping it elevated. This will bring down any inflammation much quicker and allow for the next stage in the rehab process.
Heating and stretching
Once the initial inflammation has gone down, then you could start applying heat periodically. When heat is applied to the injured area, blood flows more freely and elasticity is encouraged. After a couple of days of heat therapy, the injury area could be a bit stiff and that is when you need to start stretching it out.
The temptation would be to start with normal exercise again, but you would do much better to incorporate cross-training and strengthen the muscles around the injury. Depending on the severity of the injury, this phase of the rehabilitation could take a couple of weeks. If you want to heal well and stronger afterward, then you should take your time.