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nikipedia's avatar

How do you determine what to do with a very mild injury?

Asked by nikipedia (27300 points ) October 29th, 2009

I have recently started running longer distances more often and on hillier terrain with the intention of running my first race (5 miles) on Thanksgiving Day.

I have never been an athletic person and don’t know the first thing about sports or training. I often get little aches and pains but they always go away after a while so I’ve learned to just ignore them.

Recently I’ve gotten a new one, and I thought it was in my ankle but now I think the actual source of the pain is in my foot itself. It is definitely bearable and I can easily run on it, but every time I ignore one of these little pains I have this nagging worry that I’m going to keep making it worse and worse until I’m forced to stop running for a while. And I definitely don’t want that to happen between now and Thanksgiving!

I guess the safe answer would be to always consult a doctor, but that’s not very efficient, especially considering that so far none of these little pains have amounted to anything. So is there a good heuristic for deciding if sports-based pain is the good kind of pain (weakness leaving your body) or the bad kind (wreaking havoc on your body)?

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11 Answers

mclaugh's avatar

running on it will definetely make it worse in the long run.

dpworkin's avatar

RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Facade's avatar

The saying “no pain; no gain” is flawed. If it hurts, rest until it no longer hurts. Go to the doctor if it gets worse.

erichw1504's avatar

I wouldn’t worry about it too much, unless it gets really bad. Just make sure you are stretching properly before and after working out, eating/drinking well, and resting enough.

drClaw's avatar

Punch your foot and show it who is boss, if it acts up on your next run stomp it with your good foot and when you get home give your good foot a nice long hot soak. This display of harsh punishment for undesirable behavior and great reward for good behavior will teach that free-thinking foot of yours that you dictate when something hurts!

Val123's avatar

What kind of pain? What does it feel like, and where on your foot? If it’s a mildly pulled muscle, I always just worked through it. Hell, I worked through a majorly pulled muscle once. Shouldn’t have done that. It still hurts sometimes even now, 20 years later!

@drClaw ROFL!!

FutureMemory's avatar

Ask other joggers, I bet they know more than a sedentary doc.

galileogirl's avatar

Try walking

avvooooooo's avatar

You need to see a podiatrist. As someone who’s had to have two foot surgeries (my next is screwing together bones in my foot, trying to not have that one for a few years), I know how critical it is to make sure that you don’t seriously injure your feet. It might be nothing, but its better to check and have it be nothing than to not check and have it be something that’s going to cause you lifelong problems.

My arthritis in my feet/ankles is KILLING me today. And I’m only 25. :(

Iclamae's avatar

I agree with pdworkin on the RICE.
When rock climbing regularly, you can get a similar problem in your elbows, arms, and fingers. It just means you’ve been pushing that muscle too hard and if you keep pushing it, you could get some tendinitis or worse. For the rock climbers, we recommend RICE and taking some time off the muscle, like a few days to a week. Trust me, Tendinitis is the suck and while I’m not sure if you can get it in your foot, I know that pulling a muscle there would suck too. Either way, it’s best to avoid it, take some time off.

funkdaddy's avatar

Thinking about it, the two main ways I determine if it’s “good pain” or “bad pain” are the intensity of the pain (might be obvious) and what hurts.

“Good pain” generally is either muscle soreness or tightness. For me it’s usually more widespread and generally accompanied by a sort of heavy feeling. You can usually still exercise and it should dissipate a bit after you get going. Stretching can help, but go slow so you don’t pull anything starting out.

“Bad pain” covers just about anything else and includes any stabbing pain, any pain in my joints or pain that feels deep in the tissue and is very localized. Generally it means you’ve pulled a muscle or injured something more serious. Anything involving hard tissue isn’t really something to mess with. Those are the types of things I’d rest for.

If you’re having trouble with your feet, it may be time to get a new pair of shoes to run in. Different shoes are built to support the way different people run (how your foot hits the ground, where you put your weight, etc). A running specialty store should be able to help you find shoes that compliment your style as a service when you buy a new pair of shoes. They’ll look at how you run, ask a couple questions, hopefully look at your current shoes and how they’ve worn (take them with you). They’re generally a little more expensive (like 10%-15%) but it can really make a difference, and once you know what kind of shoes you need you can choose whether or not to get them there every time.

Good luck with your race.

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