6 Common Injuries You Should Never Train Through
When dedication defines your mindset on workouts (and results), it can be hard to back off your training – even if your body is begging you to.
If you’re pushing through pain, you’re putting yourself at a far greater risk of losing those gains than if you were to ease up on your long runs or put your ego aside and talk to a physical therapist, says exercise physiologist, Janet Hamilton.
“Listen to the feedback your body is giving you. If you have to alter your form to protect a sore spot, you can easily take one overuse injury and turn it into six,” Hamilton says, noting that, as a general rule of thumb, if you find yourself altering your exercise form or popping pills to push through pain, the risk of continuing training is not worth any potential reward.
Whether you’re pounding the pavement, plyo boxes, or the weightlifting floor, here are six common exercise injuries that should make you hit the brakes. When you hear your body talking, back off with these expert-approved strategies.
1. Stress Fractures
What they are: Microscopic breaks, these often happen in the feet, pelvis, or in the tibia and fibula, the bones that make up your lower leg, Hamilton says. When they occur in the lower leg, they are often called “shin splints.” Symptoms include pain that worsens when pressing on the area, single-leg hopping, or running.
Why they happen: Stress fractures are a result of putting more stress on your bones than they can handle, typically by ramping up high-impact exercises, including running and plyometrics, too quickly, she says. (Here are 6 Stress Fracture Warning Signs to Keep an Eye On.)
Pump the breaks: Continue stressing the bone and that microscopic fracture can turn into a full-on break, requiring everything from casts, bedrest, or surgery. “If you have had a stress fracture, the likelihood of getting another one is quite high, so it is important to see a sports medicine physician who specializes in stress fractures in order to determine why you got it in the first place,” says Julie Khan, a board-certified specialist in sports physical therapy and advanced clinician. “He or she can perform blood tests to look at hormone, calcium, and vitamin D levels to ensure these blood values are normal.” Until you can run and hop sans pain, focus on low-impact activities such as cycling, swimming, running in the pool, and strength training.