Unfortunately, physical activity may bring on acute injuries as well as chronic pain. This is especially true because I've seen exercise have a negative impact on my body over the years. I've dealt with heel pain and a variety of other issues that bring people into my clinic on a regular basis. And it seems that we are not the only ones who are affected by this.
Injury-Related Pain Affects 60% of People Who Exercise
OnePoll and Therma Care conducted a study of 2000 individuals recently. Approximately 80% of the respondents engaged in some kind of physical exercise on a weekly basis. Furthermore, at the time of the survey, 60% of the group was suffering from chronic pain as a result of a recent or previous sports injury.
Those issues were brought on by a variety of workouts. 25% of the wounded indicated they were harmed while warming up, whereas 45% said they were injured because they did not warm up enough! What about those who have been injured while participating in physical activity? The majority of injuries were caused by pulling a muscle or tendon (49%) and improper movement (51%).
It Is Unwise to Run with Chronic Pain
Are you prepared for one of the survey's most alarming findings? After being injured, 44% of injured women and 33% of injured men returned to their sport. They pretended as if nothing had occurred. Unfortunately, this increased their chances of exacerbating any existing injuries.
While it may seem to be a “brave” move, it is in fact a bad decision. Pushing through an injury's pain raises the likelihood of it persisting longer. This is reflected in the survey findings wherein 32% of those who were injured were unable to participate in sports, as a result of their chronic pain!
These figures are unfortunately not restricted to those who responded to these surveys. In my practice, I encounter a lot of patients who have been injured for months but have persisted in exercising despite the discomfort. It's not uncommon for patients to come to me with more serious injuries and need a longer recovery time than they would have if they consulted a podiatrist as soon as they felt pain.
I understand how inconvenient it is to have your weekend runs interrupted. I know how disappointing it is to sit on the bench and let your athletic team down. But, regardless of how frustrated you are, I need you to realize that if you are hurting, you must visit a doctor and rest.
Avoid These Walking Mistakes to Prevent Chronic Pain
It's a wonderful idea to choose walking exercises when you're recovering. But I don't want you to walk in such a manner that your feet get even more painful. That being said, here are a few things to watch out for when it comes to walking.
1. Wearing inappropriate footwear
When you walk, your feet will suffer if you wear the incorrect shoes. Consider walking as a sport instead of just any ordinary activity. When you're out walking, wear supportive footwear.
If walking in shoes still bothers your feet, custom orthotics may be necessary to avoid injury. These devices may help support your feet and prevent chronic pain from occurring as a result of abnormalities like flat feet or high arches. If your feet hurt when you walk, see a podiatrist.
2. Extending your stride
Do you want to hear something strange? When you walk with a stride that is too wide, you put your feet at risk of injury. What is the reason behind this? You throw off your center of gravity if you step too far away from your body. Your body feels unbalanced and exerts more effort to prevent you from falling.
Even while this is not a negative thing, it does place an increased amount of pressure on your feet whenever they are in contact with the ground. And this pressure increases with time. Shin splints may result from your low-impact walking routine. But don't worry; this is a simple matter to avoid. You should be OK as long as you keep your feet close to your body while walking.
3. Putting up with pain
Remember how I told you not to run if you're in pain? It certainly holds true for walking! This will make more sense if you consider walking as exercise. When exercise causes pain, it is an indication that you have a problem. Therefore, if you don't want to become a statistic in research on chronic pain, you should discontinue all painful exercises. Also, before resuming activities, see your podiatrist to ensure you don't end up in even more discomfort.
Maintaining Physical Activity During Recovery
So, I've already told you about the dangers of exercising through pain. But it doesn't mean I want you to rely on the cough to get you through the rest of your recovery. It's the polar opposite, in fact!
Consider the following: Massages and cold baths are often used by runners and sportsmen to recuperate. New research now shows that one method is superior than the other. Massage is the best option for healing, which is fortunate for us Houstonians who live in hot temperatures.
Why is that so? The research monitored 48 runners following a hard training session. They divided them into three groups: those who took an ice bath, those who had a massage, and those who did neither. What did they discover, exactly? When each group ran again two days later, those who got a massage were clearly better recovered. This was shown by longer strides and easier angle adjustments while running uphill. Meanwhile, as compared to those who did nothing, the runners who took an ice bath showed no benefit in terms of recuperation.
In addition, our foot doctor can develop a realistic schedule for returning to the activity that caused your sports injury. It doesn't matter whether it's running, soccer, baseball, basketball, or golfing. She will get you back to doing what you love as soon as possible.
We've all had sports-related injuries. It's almost a guarantee that they'll exist. Chronic pain, on the other hand, does not need to be. You are far less likely to have reoccurring foot pain if you get quick treatment for a sports injury. Your chances of returning to an active, pain-free lifestyle are greatly increased! So come in as soon as you notice foot discomfort, and we'll make sure an activity injury doesn't turn into a persistent condition!