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When it comes to diagnosing sports injuries, such as plantar fasciitis, it is important to remember that cause and correlation are not the same thing. This is a key feature of safe exercise for better health, body awareness. I was reminded of this fact by a conversation with a friend earlier today. She mentioned that she suspected she was suffering tennis elbow. A little research revealed, however, that the original source of her pain was related to a habit she had of banging a door shut with her arm combined with considerable tightness in her arm and shoulder on the affected side. Cutting out tennis (which she doesn’t happen to play) would have solved nothing. It wasn’t tennis elbow, it was impact contusion (bruising) accompanied by guarding (chronic psychomotor tension in her shoulders, which was designed by her body to protect the damaged region). She stopped banging the door with her arm and it started to resolve – fixing the guarding can take a lot longer, and few people realize this.
About ten years ago, I suffered from severe inflammation and pain in the soles of my feet, and I was sure it was plantar fasciitis due to running. I tried the usual tricks recommended to fix this condition, that don’t really work, they just waste your money, until I had an epiphany. I noticed that the pain was most intense when I was crushing empty steel dog food cans before placing them in the recycling bin. Suddenly it occurred to me after months of foot pain – maybe crushing steel cans with running shoes on (I’ve lived in running shoes for years) was bruising my feet? When I consulted a doctor, previously, neither of us thought to ask the question, “Do you crush hard steel dog food cans with your right foot?”
This is the real key to fixing sports injuries, the differential diagnostic list of cause (everything that you can think of that might have induced your problem, in order of likelihood). The funny thing is that the most obvious culprit can be right in front of you, but it doesn’t arrive on the list.
Always remember to ask yourself, “Was it actually caused by my training?”
Important Note: These posts do not provide medical advice. You should always consult your physician before undertaking or significantly modifying an exercise program.
Copyright © 2010 Kevin T. Morgan aka FitOldDog, Old Dogs in Training, LLC.
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