Unfortunately, fifty percent of the running community will suffer some sort of running injury in any year. If you fall in the category, you are likely asking yourself, “How long will it take to heal?” or “When can I start running, again?”
Your return to training can begin once an injury is well on its way to resolution. For some injuries, a day or two off will be plenty. For others, it may take several weeks or even months. Pain is your body's way of signaling you that something isn't right. Continuing to train in spite of pain (without the guidance of a health professional) is generally not a good idea and will most likely prolong your injury.
Use the following checklist to determine if you are ready to resume training.
- There should be no pain at rest.
- There should be no discomfort with normal activities of daily living (walking, moving from sitting to standing, and ascending or descending stairs).
- Any swelling that arrived with the injury should be resolved or minimal.
- Any tenderness to the touch that arrived with the injury should be resolved.
- If activity was restricted by a physician, a follow-up has been completed and clearance to resume activities has been received.
How quickly you are able to return to training at your pre-injury level depends in large part on the length of time that training was interrupted. A good rule of thumb is that the amount of time devoted to returning to training should be equal to the amount of time training was interrupted. For example, if a training break of six weeks was necessary to recover from a stress fracture, expect it to to take up six weeks after you start running again to return to your previous level of training and intensity.
If you fear you might be experiencing injury pain (as opposed to training soreness), please visit one of FLEET FEET’s fine Wellness Partners for further guidance.