Is that twinge you feel indicative of an injury, or just the sign of a good workout? Whether you’re an athlete, a weekend warrior or someone trying to work fitness into your daily routine, you’ve probably dealt with pain at some point. There’s a difference, though, between the “burn” you feel after a hard workout and injury pain.
Solely Soreness If you experience muscle soreness or feel a little stiff a few hours or up to a day after you exercise, that’s normal. It happens when your muscles have worked hard and need time to repair themselves and grow stronger. If it’s during your workout, it’s called acute soreness.
If you are very sore, you can try an at-home remedy. Light exercise or gentle stretching helps ease the pain in many cases. After stretching, try ice (for soreness or an injury the same day) or heat (for soreness or an injury after the first day). Over-the-counter pain medication, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen, also helps.
Injury Indicators If your muscle or joint pain is severe, particularly if the pain is accompanied by bruising or swelling, it could be indicative of an injury. Common fitness-related injuries include sprains, strains, patellar tendinitis and runner’s knee. If you suspect an injury, try the RICE method:
If your pain or swelling doesn’t go away within seven to 10 days, consult your doctor about the best course of action.
Time for a New Joint? Chronic joint pain may indicate that you could benefit from a joint replacement procedure. When your joints wear down due to arthritis or injury, day-to-day life becomes more difficult. Your doctor might recommend you join the 1 million Americans who have a knee or hip replaced each year.
Signs you should have a conversation with your doctor about joint replacement include:
- Inability to get through day-to-day tasks without help — for example, unloading the dishwasher or cleaning the living room
- Pain that keeps you from sleeping or affects your ability to walk
- Pain that doesn’t get better with conservative approaches, such as rest, medication or physical therapy
- Osteoarthritis pain that is affecting your mental or emotional well-being
In addition, if your doctor orders tests and results show significant damage to the affected joint, joint replacement may be recommended.
Learn how to get relief from knee and hip pain at one of Porter Regional’s free monthly presentations. Register by calling (800) 541-1861 or visiting PorterJointCare.com.