Question about Aches/Pain and an Answer which can apply to Anybody Posted on September 15, 2013, 0 Comments

My husband and I have signed up to run a 1/2 marathon and have started training, & my husband has started playing tennis again.  Our bodies are not responding as positively as we had hoped.  We were hoping that you could give some some advice.  
My husband pulled a leg muscle pretty badly several years ago and it re-aggravates less severely from time to time.  He re-pulled it playing tennis this week.  Do you have any tips for healing that and then preventing re-injury?  He's also having some elbow soreness from tennis and knee soreness from running.  Apparently exercise in our 40s is a little tougher than it used to be. 
For me, it's foot pain.  I had problems with shin splints before but I went to a sport podiatrist who gave me super feet inserts, told me which shoes to buy, and sent to me a massage therapist.  The massages, stretching, & new shoes/inserts worked and I was able to run the Peachtree with no shin splint pain. I started training for the 1/2 at the beginning of August. Now, the bottom of me feet hurt.  I wondered if I needed new shoes so I bought new shoes at the Big Peach but that didn't seem to help.  I've run in the shoes 3 times now and think I'm going to exchange them because I'm not sure about the fit.  And- now my right inner ankle hurts (which started after running in new shoes).  The bottom of my feet don't hurt while I'm running.  I notice them when I'm in bed.  The pain is not that bad but I worry that foot pain is not a good thing and it could get worse.  I checked runner's world and they had some foot exercises for plantar fasciitis (have no idea if that's what it is).  Should I try those?  Go back to the podiatrist?  Should I forget about it?    
Answer:
Your issues could have a number of etiologies (and likely a combination of many).  Not necessarily in order of importance:
--hydration: your connective tissue is one of the first places your body scavenges water when dehydrated.  Imagine how a rubber band stretches when it's all dried out...it usually breaks.
--nutrition: integrity of tissue is built upon how/what one eats.  LOTS of foods are pro-inflammatory including all PUFA's, grains, and anything else not optimal for human digestion.  These foods will not only perpetuate inflammation (pain) in the body, they will reflexively turn off your core (see stability below).
--flexibility: if some muscles are tight, others must compensate--usually resulting in injury
--stability: lack of stability not only hinders performance; it also creates more wear/tear on tissues
--proper warm up: dynamic stretching before, static stretching after (otherwise the muscle(s) get turned off when you need them most for stability and performance). 
--proper program design so that you are running only after learning to crawl, walk, jog correctly.  And running is an expression of power which is last link in the flexibility/stability/strength/power chain.  Break the chain and you break the athlete.
--circadian rhythms: physical repair happens between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.  If you go to bed at midnight, you miss 2hrs of physical recovery which you cannot make up.
To answer your questions:
--inserts are treating a symptom and usually not the right one as the position of the foot is influenced most by the pelvis (think flexibility/stability/nutrition).
--shoes (new/different) aren't necessarily the answer for pain and are often part of the problem as they make our feet weak, disrupt timing, inhibit proprioception, and make us less stable, etc.  Likely what you're feeling is pain secondary to improper program design (too much too soon) along with flexibility, stability, and even strength deficits.  
Specific Recommendations:
--Use tennis rackets w/ different diameters to keep from overloading the same muscles/tendons/etc. in the same way for your husband's elbow.  Knee and pulled leg muscle and sore feet all need:
1--rest (don't do anything which causes pain).
2--moist heat (Epsom Salt/baking soda baths for 20mins or so).
3--myofascial work via a massage therapist or tennis ball/golf ball/foam roller, concentrating on the areas above and below the area of complaint.  This should include STRETCHING with dynamic movements before (5-10 reps of 2s stretch/2s relax) and static movements after exercise (30-60s holds).  Again, focus on the area above and below the injury, but likely do all the stretches in my book (and you should have a copy which explains much of what I'm telling you now--you can download a PDF for $10 off my website if necessary: http://triumphtraining.com/pages/holistic-strength-training-for-triathlon).  
4--Strengthening of core, specifically lower abs and postural extensors--some exercises in my book.
5--Diet: eat all 3 macros at every feeding and eat frequently--both of which will stabilize blood sugar and minimize inflammation. 
6--hydrate with 1/2 your body wt in lbs in oz of water each day--add a pinch of sea salt with is a natural anti-histamine (i.e. for pain).
7--move as much as possible but PAIN FREE both during and 24-48hrs after.  That probably means don't run in the short term (or tennis as the case may be) as you both probably need to fill wholes in your development in order to get out of pain and have a lifetime of doing your passion.
8--Wobenzyme is a brand of Proteolytic enzymes which will work as natural anti-inflammatories if taken on an empty stomach.
9--Traumeel is a brand of a topical anti-inflammatory. 
10--stay away from NSAID's which delay healing and burden your organs of detoxification.  
11--sleep from 10-6.
12--read my book and follow some of the advice which seems most applicable.
13--read my blog for info on what/how to eat--it's likely much different than you've been taught.
Could probably go on forever.  And I haven't assessed either one of you, but I imagine the cause has many roots.  If you want to get more specific, I'd suggest an assessment or at least a consult.  But perhaps I've given you enough to think about/implement for a bit. 
Good luck and know that these problems (if caught early) are opportunities to learn and change for the better.  
Much Chi
--Andrew