…But Can I Still Run? The Question on Every Injured Runner’s Mind

The injury bug isn’t quite as certain as death and taxes, but it’s pretty much guaranteed that at least once in the course of a runner’s life, s/he will be sidelined by some kind of ache, pain, or more serious problem. Regardless if a runner walks in, limps in, or even crawls in to the physical therapist’s office, the question “but can I still run?” is usually the most important thing on his/her mind. If an injury is debilitating enough to put that question temporarily to rest, the next pressing question in “when can I run?” Although each case is unique, this attitude itself isn’t unique to runners. Many dedicated fitness enthusiasts have similar outlooks, and it reflects the psychology inherent in many focused, driven athletes. We show how a shift of perspective might help.

Sometimes the Answer is Yes

The good news is that, depending on the nature of the problem, you might be able to run or play despite having some discomfort. If your physical therapist identifies your problem as stemming from, say, tight calves, some dedicated stretching can have you running more comfortably and without the irritation that brought you in. Your physical therapist might also give you guidelines like stopping at a certain mileage or watching out for specific symptoms. If you choose to ignore or go beyond his/her recommendations, that’s on you and the results are not guaranteed (or they might be, just not in the way you’d like).

Sometimes the Answer is Maybe

The bad news is that sometimes it isn’t a simple answer. Sometimes you may have to rest, stick with a treatment plan, and then ease into your training. In these cases, asking “Can I still run?” isn’t going to end with the straightforward “Go for it!” you were hoping for. It may not take long; there are plenty of little annoyances that can be taken care of quickly, before they can turn into anything serious. Taking care of problems early is one proactive thing you can do to stay on the road!

Sometimes You Can’t do Both

There are times when you just have to accept that it isn’t a “no” – it’s more of a “not now.” Your physical therapist is a specialist and knows how to help you heal, fix what caused your injury, and reduce the risk of it happening again. If you decide that running is more important than listening to your PT’s years of experience and medical training, you risk ruining not just your current training but your entire season…or beyond. There are conditions you have to treat promptly and with determination, in order to have the best outcome; and if yours is one of them it’s time to listen to the expert in the room. The question you need to ask yourself: is your running (or another sport) more important than actually getting better? Don’t give up a long-term solution for a short-term (and likely painful) experience.

If you’re worried about aches, pains, injury or other issues keeping you from running or other activities, Body One Physical Therapy can help. We’re locally-owned and operated with four locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Our physical therapists work with clients of all ages and activity levels and we’d love to get you on the road to recovery! Call us today to schedule your appointment.