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When Is It OK To Run Through Pain?

Woman runner hold her sports injured leg.jpg

Whether you are a beginner or a serious runner, after a long run you are likely to feel some aches and tenderness in your muscles. While this is normal, if the pain is persistent it shouldn't always be disregarded completely as avoiding the pain can lead to a more serious injury. So when is it ok to run through the pain?

Here are the different types of pain, with recommendations on when it’s ok to keep going and when to stop, treat and rest…

Mild Pain: 

You feel this type of pain when you start to exercise but it usually goes away as you start to warm up and continue running. The pain may be inconsistent and moves around the body. On a pain scale of 10, it ranges from 1 to 3. Mild pain or discomfort is common and considered safe to run through. If you are concerned with any areas where you feel pain, apply the RICE protocol after your run.

Moderate pain: 

This type of pain appears as you start exercising, but stays at a tolerable intensity throughout your run. On a pain scale of 10, it ranges from 4 to 6. While it OK to finish your run if you’re almost done, it’s best to listen to your body, take a few days off from running and apply RICE protocol to allow your body a rest. A couple of days of rest or pain-free cross training now can prevent a more serious injury occurring.

Severe Pain:

Ranging from 7 to 10 on the pain scale, this pain is severe in nature and you can feel it before, during and after exercise. The pain increases as you continue running and will typically cause you to limp. You should never continue running when you feel this type of pain. Consult a Chartered Physiotherapist who will be able to provide the right treatment and advice to get you back on track. 

RICE protocol: 

Rest: Stay off the injured body part (foot/ankle). Walking may cause further injury.

Ice: Apply an ice pack to the injured area, placing a thin towel between the ice and the skin. Use ice for 20 minutes and then wait at least 40 minutes before icing again.

Compression: An elastic wrap or bandage should be used to control swelling.

Elevation: The (foot/ankle) should be raised slightly above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.