Injuries are a part of sports and athletic pursuits. When you are pushing your body to the limit, you have to know that you will get hurt from time to time. While many common injuries can be treated without a visit to the doctor, self-treating other conditions can leave you sidelined from your runs or athletic pursuits for so much longer than would otherwise be necessary.
Some people may find it easy to know the difference between a rolled or sprained ankle, but others will find it far more difficult to diagnose their foot and ankle injuries without the benefit of podiatric training. So, feel free to follow our guidelines for identifying and treating these common treadmill injuries, but always remember that, when in doubt, seeing your podiatrist is always the best and safest option.
A Rolled Ankle
Rolling your ankle is not quite the same as spraining your ankle. When you roll it, your ankle just starts to turn over. You will feel a sharp pain, but your ankle will not be pushed far enough to damage your tendons or ligaments. The best tactic for treating a rolled ankle is RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. It should be fine on its own in a few days. But, if it isn't, you may have sustained a...
Spraining your ankle is a slightly more severe injury, especially if you get a high ankle sprain. This type of injury occurs when you twist your foot around significantly. Icing can be helpful, and you will need to immobilize the ankle for at least a week. You will also need to stay off your injured ankle for two to three weeks so that it can properly heal. And you will need to visit your podiatrist to rule out a more significant injury, like a fracture, and to make sure that your ankle is properly immobilized in order to ensure proper healing.
A Pulled Muscle
When hitting the treadmill, it is very common to pull a muscle in your calf or your thigh, especially if you are guilty of skipping pre-workout warmups and stretches. The best way to treat a pulled calf muscle is to stretch it out. Massage can help alleviate pain while bringing more blood flow to the affected muscle in order to promote faster healing. You will also need to take some time off from running, because it is very easy to restrain a muscle if you return to full activity levels before you have fully healed.
Scrapes and Cuts
If you actually fall off of the treadmill, you could cut or scrape your arm. If it is not serious, just wash it out and apply antibiotic cream. You can then bandage the cut and get back to your run. And make sure to pay attention to what you're doing any time you step on a treadmill, as falls off the moving machinery have been known to cause more serious probems, like severe head injuries or even death.
Running is a great sport; I highly encourage my patients to enjoy this form of physical activity. But, since treadmill injuries are extremely common, I also recommend taking your runs outdoors whenever possible. If, however, the treadmill is your best available option, take precautions to avoid these common injuries and come see me if any probems do arise during or after one of your indoor training sessions.