Many of the minor injuries that you will get when running include muscle strains, sprains. The healing of this ‘soft tissue’ can be hoped with some basic first aid and treatment. If you do have one of these kinds of injuries, you may still need to see a doctor, but often listening to your body will usually tell you how serious the injury is.
Note: Do Not Let The Injury Get You Down
Before we go on to discuss treatment of injuries, I wanted to take a second to address how injuries can affect you emotionally. Injuries are a setback. You have worked hard to go from being a complete slob and running beginner, to actually doing pretty good. Then, you started feeling a little pain in your ankle, but you ignored it. Before long, the pain got worse, and you ‘tweaked’ your ankle. Now you can no longer take the pain, and you know that you have really injured yourself. But do not lose heart. Remember that everyone has some kind of injury to deal with at some point. And, you will get back to it before you know it. Just be smart, get your injury treated, and get back to running again.
Also, do not try to be too tough by getting back to running too quick. You want to continue to run for a long time, so it is better to be cautious. The last thing that you want to do is make your injuries worse by starting back too quick.
If you decide to treat the injury yourself, then you can use the RICE method of treatment. This method will help to treat minor sprains and strains, pulled muscles, and minor damage to bone and ligaments.
It is important to stop running, and give the injured area time to heal. If you are continuing to run on an injury, it will continue to worsen. Rest comes in different forms. For serious injuries, you may need to stay off the injury completely. For less serious injuries, it may just mean that you need to take a break from running for a certain period.
After a sprain or strain happens, the muscles and tissues become inflamed, and begin to swell. Applying ice to the injury helps with the pain, and also reduces swelling by reducing the blood flow to the area. Use a plastic bag filled with ice and water and wrapped in a towel. Then apply the ice to the injured area for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. You can also use bags of frozen peas, or ice gel packs. It is important to place ice (and not heat) over an injury after the first 24 to 72 hours. Though many think heat feels good on the injury, it actually encourages the inflammation and swelling. Hold off on the heat for at least two or three days.
Compression also helps to reduce swelling, and can help with the pain as well. Using an ‘ACE’ bandage can help to reduce pain and swelling associated with injuries such as sprains and strains.
This is especially true for foot, ankle, and knee injuries. Elevate your feet on a pillow or in a recliner. Try to get the affected area above your heart. This will help to reduce the swelling and inflammation to the injured area.
If after two days you do not see any improvement, then the injury could be serious. You should consult with your doctor about your injury.
Hopefully you will not have any injuries when you run, but if you do, remember to use the RICE method to treat minor injuries.
What do you think?
Have you had any injuries that have slowed your running down?