I hope the title of this article motivates you to deal with an injury ASAP. The longer you wait to figure out what the injury is or how it happened the more damage you could be doing! I also urge you to seek information on reputable websites as well as from multiple in-person visits with professionals.
It’s a Coach Rob Rant!
The above is not how I usually start an article but I wanted to make my intentions clear to the reader and my athletes. DO NOT PUT OFF a diagnosis or a prescription to the treatment of an injury or an illness for that matter.
I have had what seem to be countless casual and scheduled calls recently with athletes that have fought with various injuries. Some of these injuries are new and some old ones. Some are known quantities and some have not been fully diagnosed. Most of these injuries are for runners but some have been for cyclists too.
Diagnosing a problem
Cyclists and runners face a few of the same overuse injuries related to the back, hips, knees, and feet. And each sport has their fair share of unique problems due to accidents in cycling usually. However, all of them have a common ingredient they need to be diagnosed by a PROFESSIONAL in a MEDICAL field. I do want to make clear that we should all start with a medical professional first but often we may get the answers to what is or has caused an injury from other professionals.
Diagnosis is a journey and not just a destination
I say this tongue in cheek but only kinda’. I had my own experience with a nagging back problem almost 10 years ago along with some, foot, calf and recently a hip issue. Man, that makes me sound old….
After working with 2 Family MDs, 2 chiropractors, consulting with a Physical Therapist, 1 Sports Medicine Doctor, former running coach, 1 Bike Fitter, a consult with a Podiatrist and visits to 2 different running stores for gait analysis I found my problem. Then I was able to get an acceptable prescription from an orthotist.
The journey started with a nagging problem with my lower back that I was sure had been brought about pushing some heavy weights at the gym. I decided to see what ended up being 2 different chiropractors after my family doctor recommended them to me. The second chiropractor had started me down to the road to realizing my back issue may not have anything to do with the weight room. She told me my hips were wracked. The work that this chiropractor relieved some symptoms but I was still having some pain and lacked flexibility.
So my beautiful and patient wife who is a PT said no more chiropractors and that it was time to see a sports medicine doctor.
The sports medicine Doctor didn’t seem to think there was a problem with my hips but instead decided I had a pretty serious muscle imbalance in my mid to lower back. So after 6 weeks of working in their gym, getting regular massage therapy, ultrasound and TENS work, I felt like a million bucks. Until I started running…
When I started running I had several bouts of Plantar Fasciitis and was sharing with a friend of mine who used to be a running coach. He asked how I had been training and how I had been managing training volume and intensity. So what surprised me was that he said it wasn’t the training it was likely my running form and shoes. So I improved my running cadence, had a gait analysis done, purchased excellent new running shoes with custom inserts and the voilà no more foot and heel pain. For awhile….
Some time passed and I was becoming more and more serious about my Duathlon efforts and paid a visit to a bike fitter that discovered what ended up being the root of all evil. I had a falling arch in one of my feet. We corrected the problem on the bike and as predicted my power was greatly improved on the bike. This fitter also recommended I get orthotics and I didn’t.
Fast forward a year later I am having terrible calf and hip pain at the worse possible times. At the end of the last run leg of my duathlons. It felt like my hip was going to come unhinged and my calves were locking up. I thought well it maybe time to quit running. However, I am too stubborn for that and call an athlete I coach who is a Podiatrist and told him the history and he explained that the fallen arch had created a leg length discrepancy that had racked my hips which as you can imagine in running was reeking all kinds of biomechanical havoc.
The last stop on this journey was to an orthotist after being referred by my current family doctor. The orthotist has been a runner much longer than I and owns an excellent local running store. After telling him this long story, doing some more gait analysis and making some measurements he confirmed that this is what had been the problem all along and made custom orthotics for me. I can say that I am now running pain-free and that all of the other issues have all but vanished!
So what is the point of this long story?
Don’t give up, be your own health advocate and seek the professional services of many and you too can find the solution to your unique health issues!
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Until next time,
Feel better, get help, the training will be there when you recover.