Should I keep running or stop?

March 2, 2021 2:45 pm / Category: Uncategorized

How often have you heard a runner say my hip, ankle, knee hurt so I took some time off and it got better but then I started running again and it came back.

Running injuries are very different from the common injuries you hear about from football, basketball, or soccer. Rarely do they occur because of traumatic injury or a specific moment, most commonly it is an overuse injury caused by “training load error.” Basically what happened is the tissues you are stressing during running were overloaded for some reason be it mechanics, training stress, or tissue resiliency. The most important aspect to always look at is have you changed something about your running recently: mileage, intensity, frequency, or terrain? These factors change the accumulation of stress on your body and tissues, if you are not properly prepared for that then injuries will develop.

Pain is difficult to judge with running as there is always a level of discomfort/pain associated with running. So how can you tell if you can keep running, stop running, or as is most often the case alter how much or often you are running. The danger with stopping to run completely is you may not be helping the problem but actually making it worse. If you stop you will decondition the tissue you’ve injured and it will stop hurting but run the risk of restarting the same injury. This can lead to a bad cycle of run-injury-rest-run-reinjury etc. The best option is to alter what you’re doing and work on the tissues in order to strengthen them so that when you resume running at your goal mileage/intensity etc you will be able to handle the load.

The best way to judge what you need to change is to ask yourself a few questions about your

1. Does it hurt all the time?

If it hurts all the time you probably should stop running and get it checked out by your PT.

2. How long does it take for the pain to start?

If it kicks on at X miles or after X minutes then just run less than that for a few weeks and gradually start lengthening it back out

3. Does your pain get worse if you keep running?

If your pain keeps getting worse the further you run then you probably should back off.  Keep an eye on whats happening but take it easy and probably get it checked out by your PT.

4. Are certain workouts better or worse?

Speedwork or hills is the only thing that irritates your injury? Avoid that specific type of running for a few weeks and then slowly try to ramp back into it.

5. Does your pain return to normal after?

If you stop running and everything feels fine again, give it a few days or a week. If it’s not improving then go see your PT.

Overall stopping to run is not always the best option, there are plenty of ways that you can modify what you’re doing in order to keep forward on your goals or keep active.

Rausch Physical Therapy remains your caring team and can accommodate you with a specific, personalized plan. Visit our Facebook page at or call us at (949) 276-5401 to learn how we can help you. Don’t forget: there’s no prescription needed to see a PT in California.

Dr. Max Biessmann PT, DPT

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