No, this post is not about the food, it is about treating injuries. Its common this time of year to pick up gnagging little pains (which when ignored become obnoxious major injuries). Here in Tucson, we have been training since December, and racing and training hard since February or March. Its a long season. In the summer, often we will train harder rather than longer because of the heat and can lead to more aches and pains. R.I.C.E. is how you treat those pains to keep them from becoming injuries. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
Feeling some knee pain while running or riding, we will often think “oh this will go away” and it never does and then we are put into the hurt locker for several weeks. Recognize the pain early and realize that resting for a day or two now is better than laying around for weeks injured. Rest might mean cutting down volume and intensity for a couple days or it might mean not working out for a day or two. Listen to what your body is telling you and don't "fight the pain" or "rub some dirt on it".
Ice the pain. The cold will help reduce the inflammation and halt spread of the soft tissue damage. Alternate hot and cold, aiming for about 20 minutes every hour of icing. The decreasing inflammation will limit pain. Don’t over ice the area however (limit icing to the first 24-48 hours of pain) as that can actually slow the healing process.
Compression with a wrap or compression clothing is excellent for all those aches and pains. It helps reduce some of the swelling that comes with the injury, improving the blood circulation so the injury will heal faster. Look for medical grade compression garments when you buy compression clothing, such as the EC3D compression sold by TEPC. If doing an wrap, make sure you wrap tight enough to provide compression but not so tight as to constrict circulation, causing blood to pool, which reduces healing.
Elevation is all about keeping the blood circulating. By forcing blood away from the site of the pain, you will reduce inflammation, pain due to pooling of blood, and allow blood to circulate rather than pool for faster healing.
Other things that can help with ridding the aches and pains as well as preventing them from becoming worse injuries:
Finally, RICE is used best to treat the aches and pains of training when they first come up, preventing major injuries. It is less effective with true injuries. It also does not fix the root cause of your pain. Make sure you find out why you got hurt in the first place whether it be tight or weak muscles, imbalances, poor form, or a bad fit and get it fixed right away.
If you let things get out of control, check out RACE Tucson sponsor Melissa Hollman, PT, DPT at Peak Action Physical Therapy to help get you back out training sooner rather than later.
Retul Certified Bike Fitter
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