The treatment of runner’s injuries

In my 50 years experience of regular running training I have suffered several injuries of greater or lesser consideration. Of all of them, the one that lasted me most was an injury to my right knee, which kept me inactive for 8 months. It happened to me when doing gymnastics (different jumps) and still today I am not sure about the diagnosis. The only thing I can say is that I felt pain near the inner edge of the kneecap that prevented me from running and made difficult for me to walk, but it did not prevent me from doing extensions of the knee with 20 kg of weight. I interpreted it as a possible partial rupture of the medial retinaculum, without affecting the internal structures of the knee.

The treatment consisted of rest. I did not take any analgesic or anti-inflammatory drug, because the pain served me as a guide in the recovery. I noticed every day, almost imperceptibly, that the pain was slowing down very slowly and that I was improving in the difficulty of walking. After 8 months, I already felt the knee fairly recovered and started a program of walking and running, progressively, until I finished running for 40 minutes in a row. Then I recovered my usual running routine.

With this and many other examples, I have learned that the body itself cures or repairs the running injuries. The supposed pharmacological, physiotherapeutic or other kind treatments only help the body to repair the injury when they are directed at eliminating the cause that has lead to it or is causing it. What these treatments should not do is to be directed to relieve pain, because, of course, it is not the cause but the consequence of the injury. Pain is the mechanism that the body has to protect the injured area, forcing the painful area to remain inactive in order that the injury goes away.

The important thing is to find the cause of the injury and lead the treatment to eliminate that cause.
In my case, the cause was clear (it was a jump in bad position) and its action had already stopped. Therefore, I just had to wait for my body to repair the damage, no matter how long it takes. It was the only thing that had to be done and that is the only thing that must be done in most injuries in which the cause has already stopped.

From a pathological anatomy point of view, the injuries may be a result of partial or total ruptures (bones, muscle fibers, ligaments, tendons, meniscus, capsules), strains (ligaments, tendons, capsules), swellings (periosteum, tendons, capsules) or muscle contractions. The treatment should be approached from this point of view of the pathological anatomy.
In the total ruptures, it is beyond doubt what the treatment is for a bone fracture: the rest of the injured area. This rest is achieved by applying an immobilization with a plaster cast, which includes that joints of which the bone is a part, during the time in which the body repairs the fracture. In many cases, surgery is necessary.

In the total ruptures of the soft tissue (muscle fibers, ligaments, tendons, meniscus) it will be necessary firstly to perform the surgery to come the ends near in order that they can be joined together, and next to apply an immobilization during the estimated period of time in which the body can repair the rupture .

In partial ruptures, whether they are in bone (crack) or in soft tissue, the treatment is the rest of the injured area, with or without immobilization, during the estimated time in which the body repairs the rupture. The same can be said concerning strains. In all these injuries nothing else is needed, since there is no medicine or another type of intervention that speeds up the repair.
In inflammations, anti-inflammatory drugs, the application of ice and the use of ultrasound or shortwave devices can be useful to speed up, in some cases, the repair of the injury by the body. But it is also necessary to discontinue the activity that was being carried out.

Finally in contractures, muscle relaxant drugs, the application of heat and the use of ultrasound or short wave devices can also be useful to speed up, in some cases, the repair of the injury by the body. Stretching can also help, in addition to resting and discontinue the activity that was being done.