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Runners: Rest Isn't The Answer

martins-zemlickis-57243-unsplashRunners expect a lot from their body. They pound the pavement day in and day out, logging mile after mile. It’s a repetitive sport that can really wear on their body and can lead to injuries like, IT band syndrome, patellofemoral syndrome (“Runner’s Knee”), hip pain, plantar fasciitis, low back pain, and even upper back/shoulder pain. Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. This is the typical recommendation for treatment of running injuries. It sounds easy, but it’s rarely the answer to their injury problems.

When I was training for Twin Cities Marathon in 2015, I ended up with a foot injury that was drastically limiting my weekly mileage.  I ended up choosing to rest for a couple of weeks. Being a chiropractor, I tried every treatment I had access to during that rest period. I used ice, compression, ultrasound, electric muscle stimulation, self massage, and foam rolling, all on a daily basis. When I got back into my training I was confident that it was resolved and that I’d pick up where I left off. Well, I was wrong. It didn’t feel any different. I was still hobbling my way through 3 mile runs, which meant my long runs weren’t going to happen.

So, I decided to seek out the help of some colleagues. I found someone to adjust my back, someone to perform Active Release Technique and someone else to do Graston Technique. Within days, I was responding and my mileage was increasing again. While I ended up having cramping issues during the marathon (that’s a whole different story), I was able to finish without the pain in my foot that had previously been holding me back.

I’m telling you this because it went against everything I was ever taught on how to deal with runners. Rest wasn’t the cure all. Rest is important, but it isn’t going to address the underlying adhesions that form when you injure soft tissues. Chiropractic adjustments, Graston Technique and Active Release Technique were the treatments that were able to restore normal function to the previously injured tissues, thus allowing me to continue my training and achieve my real goal of finishing the marathon.

In my professional and personal experience, runners come to the conclusion that pain/discomfort is expected in their sport, especially during  a training cycle. While injuries are common and inevitable at some point in a runner’s life, they don’t have to put an end to their training goals. Proper diagnosis and treatment options can get runners back on the road (or treadmill, if you’re into that kind of thing).

-Ty Crabtree, DC

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