Cet article est également disponible en : French
When we encounter pain during exercise, we tend to imagine the worst. Just a simple pain in the ankle or knee, and we immediately fear a sprain. As runners, we do not always think to find the cause of the problem, so here is an outline of good practices to follow, and some tips on what to do in case you do hurt yourself during a training session.
It is well known that we are pros at diagnosing ourselves: as soon as we notice a slight pain during training, many of us start scouring the internet in the hope of labelling the pain that has taken over our poor bodies. Quite frankly, it’s a bit overdramatic. Among medical forums (where members often overestimate their authority to advise) and scientific sites that describe symptoms in a language incomprehensible to anyone without a doctorate in podiatric surgery, it is easy to be misinformed. But the pain is still ever-present…
According to a report from Google, 5% of the hundreds of billions of searches sent through the search engine every month are health enquiries.
We are not medical experts, and we are not going to turn to the powers that be to diagnose the injury you are suffering. We are simply here to suggest a few basic practices to follow in case you do hurt yourself during a sports session.
First of all, the majority of runners react in one of two ways upon encountering an injury: some of them panic almost immediately and greatly exaggerate the seriousness of their injury, imagining the worst scenario possible (a fracture, or an injury that hasn’t properly healed and has returned to rear its ugly head in the most brutal way possible). On the other hand, some runners completely deny the fact that they are injured, and refuse to listen to their bodies, assuring themselves that the pain will pass, and that it’s all in their heads.
As you can probably tell, neither attitude to injury is recommended…
In certain situations, we can no longer trust our bodies or instinct, as it is simply not reliable enough. In this case, the best solution is to keep calm, and react in a rational manner.
Recognising an emergency
Before seeking urgent professional healthcare, it is wise to do a quick scan. The aim is to determine as quickly as possible if it is an emergency situation or simply a minor injury. The French Medical Emergency Association’s website provides a list of symptoms to look out for which should help you determine the seriousness of an injury. The main ones to look out for are as follows:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Chest pain or feeling of suffocation
- Feeling faint or dizzy
- Sudden dizziness, faintness or visual impairment
- Change in behaviour, confusion or difficulty walking
- Severe pain in any part of the body
- Bleeding that continues even after ten minutes of compression
- Severe or persistant vomiting
- Coughing or vomiting blood
Should any of these symptoms occur as a result of physical exercise, it is imperative that you seek emergency help as soon as possible.
With this in mind, not all cases require emergency medical assistance. So how can we distinguish between injuries, and better diagnose the situation before consulting a medical professional?
In spite of the plethora of information available online, and the various health websites that often contradict each other, there are in fact a couple of useful sites that stand out from the rest, and that deliver reliable medical advice. Among them is DrSport, a little gem created by medical sports specialists who identify users’ injuries thorough an online diagnostic tool. This is combined with personalised care, offering specially adapted treatments and consultations if required.
It’s an app, available for free on iOS and Android, which also enables users to notify emergency contacts and services in case of emergency.
We really recommend the app for runners and sports people. A doctor in your pocket ready to help at any moment, even on your next Smart Run!
Obviously, the app is not a substitution for a professional healthcare specialist. If injuries persist, make sure you see a doctor!
We hope that you don’t injure yourself in the first place, but if you do, we hope that these tips will be of help, and that you will be able to continue exercising as soon as possible after an injury!