Whether you’re running around the neighborhood for daily exercise or training for a marathon, there are always risks involved. While the hope is to build strength and stamina, it’s not uncommon for a runner to end up injured. A bruised or twisted ankle, a pulled muscle, or broken bone can leave you in pain and unable to get around easily for quite some time.
A running injury can be physically and psychologically frustrating, to say the least. The pain, discomfort, and limited mobility cause an inconvenience in all areas of your life. You want nothing more than to get better, but based on the information provided to you by your doctor, you’ll be out of commission for weeks if not longer.
Though everyone’s body is different and following the doctor’s orders is a must, there are some things you can do to speed the recovery and healing process after suffering from a runner’s injury:
The absolute worse thing you could do while trying to recover from a running injury is to start running before you’ve been given the okay by your doctor. Even if you’re training and believe that you’ll lose some muscle strength, stamina, and other necessary skills, you’ll be even worse off if you start running and cause more damage.
If allowed, simply complete other exercises that don’t require you to apply pressure to your injury. Swimming, for example, is a great idea. It’s a low-impact workout that allows you to use all parts of your body without too much pressure. This allows you to build strength, stay on a routine, and recover quickly.
Hot and Cold Therapy
Most pain from running injuries is the direct result of inflammation. For faster healing, it is often recommended that you use hot and cold therapy to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Applying ice for a few minutes then switching to heat like from a heating pad helps to soothe the affected area faster.
Get a Massage
Speaking of therapy, massages are another therapeutic practice that can be used to treat running injuries faster. The right techniques used on a regular basis to the affected area help to reduce inflammation, relieve tension, increase circulation, improve flexibility, restore balance, and boost your mood all at once. You can schedule appointments at a local spa or visit a site like LivingEarthCrafts.com and buy your own massage supplies and have a loved one give you a rub-down at home.
Change Your Diet
As a runner, you should already be indulging in healthy food choices to support your body. It is important to maintain this diet even as you’re recovering. It might be tempting to drown your sorrows with comfort foods and drinks, but the added weight and lack of nutrition will slow down your recovery. Instead, stick to a diet high in lean proteins, fiber, omega fatty acids, vitamin C, and antioxidants to speed up your recovery efforts.
Reduce Emotional Stress
Being injured to the point that you’re not able to get around as well as you used to can be emotionally draining. Even if the injury is totally treatable and only temporary, during the time you’re immobile, you have to rely on others for everything. This may mean calling out of work, asking for more help than you’re used to, and more.
As emotionally overwhelming as this can all be, you slow down your recovery time when you’re stressed. Your body is constantly in fight or flight mode which raises stress hormone levels and weakens your health. It is better instead to find ways to cope. Talk with a therapist, ask people you trust to help and find ways to smile more. In doing so, you remove the mental stress which speeds up your recovery. Running is exhilarating. It not only helps you to shed calories, build strong bones and muscles, and improve flexibility, range of motion, and stamina. Running can be therapeutic, healing, and for some, a way of life. So when something you’re so passionate about results in an injury, all you can think about is recovering. While prevention is always the better choice if you’ve suffered from a runner’s injury the list of suggestions above will help you to get back out there sooner rather than later.