As a recreational runner, it can be hard to know where to go for the best advice when something hurts. Most high school, college and professional athletes are extremely lucky to have an athletic trainer (AT) who works with their team who can assess, diagnose and treat their injury as well as refer them to other types of healthcare professionals when needed. A good, ethical AT will be honest with you about what they can and cannot treat. We are highly skilled and trained in many areas but we operate under the licenses of physicians and must refer to them when necessary.
Out in the “real world” it can be hard to find an athletic trainer who serves the general population. This is one of the primary reasons I started Superior Running Medicine.
When I worked as an athletic trainer for a collegiate cross-country program, I would joke that I understood them because I was “the same kind of crazy.” I don’t mean that in an insulting way at all. Non-runners tend to think we are crazy and I was choosing to embrace the word rather than be hurt by it! I do understand the types of training and workouts that runners do. I am very well versed in the types of injuries that commonly occur in runners and I have many years of experience creating training plans that bridge the gap from injury to full-volume running.
I have been running long enough and working with runners long enough to know that the most devastating thing you can tell a runner is that they need to stop running. Running serves so many purposes in our lives. For some it is our quiet alone time, for others it is our social time with our running buddies. For some of us it is our sport – we train and compete to improve. For others, it is freedom and a release – a time to be outside in nature with no watch or cellphone or worries. Taking away this outlet can leave us stressed and irritable.
The first time I was ever injured, I saw a primary care physician. These doctors are brilliant people who are trained to manage a wide variety of conditions. This doctor was able to narrow down my diagnosis to two things based on the location of my pain. He told me that it was either a bone stress injury or tendonitis. He advised that I not run for 6 weeks because both of those conditions can heal within 6 weeks time. Not. Run. For. 6. Weeks.
That was not what I wanted to hear.
I was an undergraduate college student myself at the time and I was taking my very first class in the field of athletic training. So I asked the AT teaching the course if he would look at my foot. He did some additional things that the doctor hadn’t done – asking me to move my foot in certain ways, apply pressure to his hand with my toes, etc. He was able to fine-tune my diagnosis and shorten my time-off sentence.
I hope that this post will help you understand when to seek the services of an athletic trainer. Over the course of the next few days, I plan to profile other types of healthcare providers you may encounter and what their skill sets are in order to help you determine who to see and when!
If after reading this, you would like to come meet with me, follow this link to my menu of services! https://superior-running-medicine.com/services-2/