I’m injured! Who should I consult?

by Rémi Bergeron, physiotherapist and certified running expert, ASP Downtown Montreal

Since the early 2000s, running keeps gaining in popularity. The number of enthusiasts is on the rise, the number of races keeps increasing and they fill to capacity more and more quickly. But there’s a risk lurking for all these enthusiasts: that of an injury. According to studies, 50-80% of runners get hurt every year.

For a runner who wants to resume training as soon as possible, finding the right professional can be difficult and confusing. Who should one consult? The market currently offers a wide range of therapists of all kinds. Beyond their qualifications or title, it is important for a runner to choose a professional qualified in the prevention and treatment of running injuries.

This expert is usually a runner himself or herself and therefore understands your situation very well. (S)he also needs to be on the lookout for the latest evidence in regard to the treatment of running injuries through reading, but also through professional training, for example, by completing a recognized continuing education program such as the ones given by The Running Clinic.

According to experts, 80% of running injuries are due to poor training management. People tend to do too much too soon. Thus, in a successful therapy, the most important aspect to be addressed is an adequate quantification of mechanical stress. We must do just enough to promote healing and not too much to not aggravate the situation. Even if this means starting with only three times one minute of running and to increase one minute at a time.

The expert knows that running is good for you. We are not like cars: the more mileage they do, the more they wear out. We are living beings and we have evolved for running and by running. Living beings whose tissues all adapt under mechanical stress such as running, as long as we do not exceed our own limits of adaptation. The best way to promote adaptation for a runner is to run a bit and do so frequently. In fact, people who run less than 4 times a week are significantly more at risk to get injured than those who run more often and do more kilometers each week.

The most important thing is to never accept the final recommendations of a professional who is not a runner or one who is not a running expert. Especially if you are told that "running is not good for you".

Happy running!