Many runners continue to run, even when nursing an old injury. Many runners think they can just “run it out” and thereby fix or “work through” the problem. Unfortunately, this perspective causes more harm than good.
Here are some reasons why:
- When you are injured, your muscles learn to move differently in order to prevent further pain until the initial injury is healed. Because these muscles – the trunk rotators and waist muscles – are involuntarily contracted, the brain recruits other muscles to help with movement.
- Long-term compensation develops into sensory motor amnesia (SMA). SMA means that the muscles you would normally use to run are no longer efficient, able to be recruited when needed. This affects your performance and comfort while running.
- Running while compensating for an injury does not “fix” the injury or relax the muscles. It only creates more compensation and deepens your pattern of SMA. In short, you are strengthening your pain.
In order to end the vicious cycle of SMA and regain efficient movement, you must restore muscle function through pandiculation and conscious re-patterning of muscles. Only then can you regain your original running form and help to prevent further injury.