Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Is Rest Still Appropriate?

How many time have you heard the old adage, "Just rest it," after complaining of a sore hurting muscle. How many have heard it from their doctor? How many runners see a podiatrist and say "my calf has been really hurting me on long runs," only to be told, "well rest it for three weeks and try again."

Rest was the prescription for many things awhile back. Fast forward to the present. Rest isn't the answer, unless you have a tear. If the muscle is torn or severely strained, then yes rest is the answer. But persistent pain, will in fact persist.

Pain in a muscle is usually a warning that you have exceeded it's capacity for tolerance. In the above example, you may only have the strength in your calf to run 3 miles before your overpronation causes your tibialis anterior to give up, and yet your trying to run 4 miles on it, so your body sends pain to your calf to get you to quit. Sure you can rest your calf until it feels good enough to run again, but as soon as that 4 miles comes around again, here comes the pain again.

Rest will get rid of the pain, because you've gotten rid of the stimulus. But, bring the stimulus back, and back comes the pain. Understand that load and capacity are a seesaw, keep them in balance. More importantly realize that their is usually always a cause for pain and that rest very rarely is the answer.

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