When is it OK to run after an injury?
A few years ago I faced that question as I was coming to end of a 6 week recovery from a broken bone in my right foot. It was classified as a stress fracture in one of the Metatarsal Bones. It had been a challenge to detect since it was such a small fracture. For weeks before the diagnosis I kept walking and running wishing it was anything but a fracture. That was not wise but we runners are optimists…or just wishful thinkers. In either case once the fracture was diagnosed, I was bummed out: “You mean I have to stop running for a couple of weeks?” I remember asking the doctor. When he told me that I couldn’t run for at least six weeks and would have to wear a foot cast, I was devastated! It was exactly 6 weeks to the Reggae Marathon and I was not going to be recovered in order to run that year.
Once I had digested that reality, I thought, “What’s it going to be like on my first post-race run?”
So that year I walked the 10K at Reggae Marathon in my ‘Boot’ foot case. I took my camera with me and that year took some of my favourite photos. One of my favourites was of the Negril River. Every year I cross the river in the dark but at my walking pace, I caught the sunrise coming up from the East.
That took care of walking. In the safety of my foot cast. I still feared that first run. Unlike my usual carefree self, I waited another couple of weeks before working up the nerve to go running. That morning I gingerly started out super slowly trying to minimize the impact on the recovered foot. To anyone watching, it must have looked super awkward…downright clumsy.
After a couple of minutes, with no pain, I picked up the pain and relaxed ever so slightly. I took it slow that day and didn’t stay out long but It was a relief to be running again.
- Yes there is running after an injury. The keys to a safe return?
- Follow Doctor’s orders on recovery time and protocol
- Start walking first. A week or two first
- Start running slowly and for short distances…give your muscles time to strengthen
Until next time…