Injuries… every once in a while they creep up. So what do you do about them? Well I am not a doctor for sure so my first advice is when in doubt get it checked out! After that it depends what kind of injury it is. If it is something acute where you can remember doing something specific to yourself such as an ankle sprain, and then follow the principles of RICE. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation will help get the ankle back to where it should be. However, when injuries become chronic things get a little dicey.
If you have a chronic injury that has been bothering you for a couple of weeks and you have done everything in your power to make it feel better (i.e. ice, rest, functional stretching etc) it is time to bring in a more qualified individual to assess the injury. I would recommend skipping the general physician and going to see a specialist. Most physicians really don’t know a lot about sports specific injuries. Doctors are great, they know a lot about a lot, but sometimes very little about specifics. I recommend seeing a specialist who specializes in the particular area where you are injured.
So when do you need to see the doctor? Some strong indicators are when you have chronic swelling or bruising, which seem obvious. But other symptoms of more serious injuries can throw you off. If you have chronic, intense pain in a single spot that you can isolate down to one or two finger tips, I highly recommend you visiting the doctor. A lot of times this is an indicator of a stress fracture. You definitely want to take care of stress fractures before they develop into more serious injuries. Also, any time you have an injury to the head, don’t wait… go get it checked by a sports medicine doctor. Concussions are no joke. There is little known about them and if you have one and don’t know it you can die if you get a second one within a period of a week following the concussion. So please do not mess around with head injuries! Again, general doctors don’t know a lot about concussions so do your homework to find the most qualified physician.
How do you train with injuries? I recommend finding a different modality such as swimming. Swimming is great because it is non weight bearing and easy on the joints. I know this isn’t always possible because of the availability of a pool. So if you have a lower extremity injury consider boxing. It is a great cardio workout and good for the upper body. Remember there is usually a body part that is in good enough working order that you can train. Core is always a good option to work. Remember to give each major muscle group 48 hours of rest before working it again. This way you can minimize over training and developing another injury somewhere else.
My biggest piece of advice regarding training with injuries is to always try to do something. The most important thing is to not throw in the towel on working out just because you have an injury! Stay with it! This too shall pass.