Avoid Overtraining During Quarantine: Rachelle Little CAT(C)

This is a little anecdotal story from Rachelle Little, one of our amazing Athletic Therapists.  This post has some great take-home messages for avoiding injury when faced with changing type and volume of exercise suddenly.  A very relevant topic right now as many folks are taking advantage of all the excellent home workouts currently being shared and extra free time to dedicate to new health and wellness initiatives.  However, with that, many folks are also experiencing what Rachelle did, an overload injury!  Read on and let us know what you think!

I consider myself a fairly active person. I participate in 2 strength training sessions a week, 1-2 High Intensity Interval Training sessions as well as regular recreational sports, hiking and cycling. 

With closures of gyms and cessation of all organized sports, like many of us, I have had to change my physical activity habits. I took up running and started participating daily in online workouts that were full of jumping and lunging. Mid-way through the second week of quarantine, I noticed some foot pain during jumping jacks, I tried to ignore it. At the end of week two, after my longest run yet, I noticed pain in the ball of my foot had increased. The next day I could barely weight bear on that side due to the pain and swelling in my foot. 

Fortunately, as an Athletic Therapist, I was able to recognize the symptoms of metatarsalgia, a pathology of the joints between the foot and the toe bones. I have since modified my physical activity by swapping out running for cycling and removing jumping from my at home workouts. I have begun daily rehabilitation exercises involving balance, strengthening the intrinsic muscles of my foot and increasing my toe and ankle range of motion. 

If you are taking up new activities or have more free time to do more of what you already love to do, be cautious on doing too much too fast! Pain and injury occur when a load is applied that is greater than the tolerance of the area. For me this was two-fold; I added new exercise (running) into my routine, and increased my overall training volume. This equated to a load greater than what my foot could tolerate, resulting in pain. Now I am working on increasing the tolerance, so I can work back up to that load. 

Don’t push through pain or ignore it, it is there to tell you something. Reach out to a trained professional to help guide you through staying physically active during this unprecedented time, when staying active may be more important than ever!

Reference:

Diagnosis and Treatment of Forefoot Disorders. Section 2. Central Metatarsalgia Clinical Practice Guideline Forefoot Disorders Panel, James L. Thomas, DPM https://doi.org/10.1053/j.jfas.2008.12.004 

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