When I started running at university I would run on a treadmill for 20 – 30 minutes on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Over a year it became part of my weekly routine as I was studying for my final exams. Then, one day, my knee hurt.
“That’s nothing,” I thought. “A wee run will fix that!”
I’d pop up to the university gym and, after five minutes, the pain would start to fade, and, after 20 minutes, it would be gone.
“See,” I thought, “it was just a wee niggle!”
And by the time I’d have my shower, my leg would fall off.
Not literally. I’d topple. But it might as well have as I couldn’t use it for the rest of the day. It wouldn’t bend. I couldn’t put weight on it. I would hop from gym to library to home until…
I’d wake up in the morning, my knee would hurt and I’d think:
“Really, it’s nothing, a wee run will fix this!”
And I was a cripple for a month until I realised that a ‘wee run’ will only fix this if your problem is an escaped lion and you need to get away fast. If your problem is a damaged ligament then don’t run on it!
You need to follow the RIC (Rest, Ice and Compression) program not the RIC (Run, Ignore, Crawl To Bed) program.
Yet, 20 years later I’ve learnt nothing. Last week I pulled a muscle in my abdomen. Not sure how, think it was twisting to lift something while sitting in my chair at work, however, when I noticed it was sore I thought immediately:
“It’s nothing, a wee swim will fix this!”
And I went swimming. An exercise that requires you to continuously twist and turn.
Because there’s nothing like putting out a fire like pouring more oil on it and shouting “Burn, baby, burn!”
It was stupid.
And on Tuesday I ended up in the minor injuries clinic complaining that I couldn’t turn my body to the right or pick up any weight with my right hand.
Which was also stupid because, despite being a clinic for minor injuries, the doctor listened to my story and immediately said: “We don’t do abdomens.”
Which made me think: “What do you do? Left ankles only. Just the right elbow? How can you distinguish between different parts of the body? You’re a doctor, your meant to do everything.”
He sent me to my GP who’s sole advice was “If it hurts when you twist to the right then don’t twist to the right!”
But she was right because she was just telling me what I already knew – if you’re injured, then don’t do twice as much as you did before in the hope that more means less. Rest. Ice. Compression. And don’t go for a run.