Prevent Foot & Ankle Injuries: 5 Signs that You May Be Overtraining
Posted by Jenn F. on Monday, April 7th, 2014
The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine’s Dr. Josef Geldwert works with a lot of marathon runners and triathletes. Often they come in with foot and ankle injuries that could have been prevented long ago, had they picked up on the tell-tale signs of overtraining. They have low energy, aching muscles, and declining performance by the time they come in. Chronic, recurrent foot and ankle injuries are often referred to as “overuse injuries” (as opposed to “acute” accident-type injuries) and they happen to serious athletes of all calibers very often, especially as age increases.
Overtraining Foot & Ankle Injuries
The most common overuse injuries we see in our practice include:
– Plantar fasciitis
– Ankle sprains
– Muscle strains
5 Signs You’re Overtraining
1. You feel lousy all the time. Runner Geoff Roes says his first “acute” symptom of overtraining was the frequent need to urinate while running. A week later, he reports, “I started to feel some dizziness, neck pain, and shooting pains in the back of my head” — while running.
Within a month, he felt these symptoms throughout the day and added a few new symptoms — weakness, fatigue, numbness, tingling, anxiety, GI issues, brain fog, loss in balance, headaches, and fluctuations in body temperature and appetite. Doctors couldn’t seem to pinpoint what was wrong, but eventually Geoff figured out overtraining syndrome was to blame.
2. You have difficulty sleeping.
As an article in the Fairfield Citizen explains, overtrained athletes have a hard time knowing whether the body needs rest or recovery. They may have difficulty falling asleep, wake easily throughout the night, and find it hard to get up in the morning.
Six-time world champion Ironman Mark Allen put it this way: “Maybe you go to sleep like a dead man, and wake up and can’t go back to sleep. Or maybe you sleep fine, but you wake up feeling like a Mack Truck hit you.”
3. Your pulse is irregular.
Check your heart rate first thing in the morning. If it’s 10 beats or higher than normal, then it’s a tell-tale sign of overtraining. Take your rest day!
Northwest Runner recommends checking your “orthostatic heart rate” by lying down for 10 minutes and recording your resting heart rate to assess against a pulse taken after standing for 15 seconds, 90 seconds. and 120 seconds. If you’ve overtrained, your heart rate will increase at 120 seconds.
4. You exhibit signs of being mentally obsessed with exercise.
Do you post information about your workouts and “motivational images” on your Facebook page every day? Do you skip meals, obsess over calorie counting, or throw youself into a Paleo, raw, or whatever diet you’re on? Are you guilty of sacrificing dates with family and friends before cancelling a workout? Do you work through pain and sickness, firmly believing in the slogan “no pain, no gain”? If so, you’re probably an overtrainer, says Men’s Fitness.
5. Your performance becomes inconsistent and activities are impaired.
According to StopSportsInjuries.com, there are several classifications of overuse injuries:
– Class I: Pain after activity; no functional impairment
– Class II: Pain during and after activity; minimal functional impairment
– Class III: Pain during and after activity; significant functional impairment
– Class IV: Significant functional impairment with all daily activities
How to Recover from Overtraining
As hard as it may sound, you’ve simply got to stop working out every day if you’ve overtrained! BodyBuilding.com recommends giving yourself 10-12 days of total rest and recovery from weight training, if your muscles are overtaxed. During this time, focus on eating healthy and sleeping well. Get a relaxing deep tissue massage! To give your parasympathetic nerve system a quick jolt into recovery, you may try:
– Wearing compression shirts and tights stuffed with ice packs, or cold immersion into a chilly stream or pool several times a day, for 20-30 minutes per session.
– Using an Earthpulse Sleep Machine or deep sleep hypnosis audiobook to enhance relaxation and fall into a deeper, more restorative level of rest.
– Supplementing with a multi-vitamin or Chinese adaptive herb, like Tian Chi.
– Adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet that replaces processed meats, nuts, cereals, potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant with cherries, blueberries, artichokes, spinach, fish, and garlic.
Treatment for Chronic Overuse Injuries in NY
The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine offers two facilities — one in Manhattan and one in White Plains — for your convenience. We have board-certified podiatrists, podiatric surgeons, physical therapists, and sports medicine doctors on staff to rehabilitate your injury and get you back to the top of your game again. In most cases, we begin with more conservative therapies, but we can also provide surgical interventions and the latest technology-based treatments using lasers and shockwaves. Contact us today to set up your consultation!
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.