Running Injuries and the Lessons They Teach

It is emotionally challenging to be prevented from doing something you enjoy, that is good for you, and that has become a positive habit. Injured athletes and runners face this dilemma with much difficulty. Having a plan to follow is very helpful to keep you focused and on task toward achieving your goal of returning to running. Following are some principles to following such a plan:

  1. Admit to yourself that you are not moving forward, if that is the case, and that you can get better faster with skilled, professional help.
  2. A good competitor knows to rest from aggravating activity but not lay on the couch. Active rest means cross training with something that allows and speeds healing. For runners, cross country skiing/Nordic track, elliptical, cycling, or running on the AlterG antigravity treadmill may be the ticket. It’s possible that these activities will aggravate your injury so follow the rule of no pain during or after. There are cases where swimming or an upper body ergometer (UBE) is the only option. Note: This usually stinks for a runner to cross train. You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it. It won’t be the same as running, and you should do it anyway. Don’t let yourself get out of shape if you can avoid it.
  3. Learn and do all that you can to speed up the healing of your injury. The internet and social media can be a wealth of information but it can be distracting to filter what actually applies to you. If your initial information search is confusing or not working, seek a trained professional such as a Body Mechanics physical therapist to evaluate and distill what is wrong and design a plan to correct it. If you are in the Madison or Milwaukee area, contact us through Give a brief description of your injury, where you live or work, and your phone number and we will arrange a no-obligation free phone consultation.
  4. How long will it take? There are logical, anticipated time frames that apply and you will have to exercise patience. For example, it usually takes 8 weeks for bone to heal (stress fractures, stress reaction), and 6 weeks for connective tissue to turn over and regenerate, so anticipate at least 6 weeks for a soft tissue injury (Achilles or patellar tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, hamstring, calf, hip, or other muscle injury) to heal and quit hurting even if everything is being done right to speed up the process (corrective exercise, correcting running form, correcting equipment/shoes, fixing training errors, improving circulation, reducing inflammation/ice, supportive taping, over-the-counter or custom foot orthotics, applying soft tissue and manual mobilization, dry needling, re-training muscle initiation, strength, and endurance, just to name a few things) Our physical therapy guidance will assure your correct timing and application of these methods.
  5. If the necessities of daily life or continued aggravation of the problem in your training methods persist it can take 10-12 weeks or even longer.

Injuries force us to learn and practice patience and persistence. They teach us to ask for help, have hope, stay positive, and ultimately to be grateful. These are certainly hard, but valuable lessons that can be applied to other areas of our lives.

To see one of our skilled physical therapists call our office in Milwaukee (414-224-8219), Pewaukee (262-695-3057), or Madison (608-422-5085). If you would like a free phone consultation for an injury please start by sending an email inquiry with your name and phone number to

bodymechanics locations

731 N. Jackson  | Suite 800
Milwaukee, WI 53202  (map)

1177 Quail Court | Suite 200
Pewaukee, WI 53072  (map)