Dr Bret Wilson

Don’t Ever Give Up

If you can’t fly – then run
If you can’t run – then walk
If you can’t walk – then crawl
But whatever you do…
You MUST keep moving forward – Martin Luther King Jr

Photo by Jodie WilsonI often hear from patients who seek care at my office that when the pain began they stopped movement and avoided activity to let it heal.  The problem is often that for the sake of an isolated body part condition, the person has stopped moving all together.  The unfortunate unintended consequence is that the condition worsens and the body adapts negatively to the lack of activity.  The overall fitness deteriorates and now the road back to health is more of a challenge.  At the other end of the spectrum, is the person who takes the old adage that they simply need to “walk it off”.  They apparently reason that if it hurts my leg when I walk, then if I walk long enough it will get better.  In this case, the will to move forward causes abnormal adaptation by most of the rest of the body, causing other problems in addition to the original injury, while slowing the healing of the original injury.

So what is the best approach?  The key is treatment, support and rest for the injury, movement to tolerance in a controlled way, and maintaining as much normal activity for the rest of the body.  This approach can help stimulate the healing process while not causing de-conditioning and negative adaptive movement patterns to the rest of the body.

For example, you have strained your ankle, and initially weight bearing is painful and there is swelling and inflammation.  The ankle needs ice, elevation, modified weight bearing and support.   So suspending your walking program or basketball game is necessary.  But movement of the ankle and knee through a pain free ROM that is not weight bearing will be helpful.  Certainly upper body exercise, such as weight training, floor exercises for core strength and flexibility can still be maintained while avoiding further injury to the ankle.

So the next time you overdo it or suffer an injury.  Take the time to support and treat the injured body parts.  Seek care and advice of a physician if not improving in a few days.  Return the injured area to activity as soon as possible with in tolerances and without causing pain or additional injury.  Modify your exercise as appropriate for the condition, but continue to maintain the fitness of other areas as the injury heals.  Movement will help keep moving your health forward.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Bret Wilson