Pain is not an indication that you need to suck it up and endure more pain.
It is a message that you’re doing something wrong, incorrectly, injurious, possibly even stupid. Think about it, that pain in your hand every time you stick your hand in the fire, do you really believe it’s trying to tell you to leave your hand in until it’s tough enough?
Well, that may actually work – your hand will turn into a hard, tough chunk of charcoal in time! But, not very useful except maybe for making charcoal drawings.
No, seriously, pain is telling you to remove your hand from the fire. Pain while pounding our bare soles into the ground is trying to tell us to run more gently, more efficiently, more gracefully – to stop pounding!
Our feet are far more sensitive than necessary to simply protect the feet – isn’t that really the reason most people wear shoes? But, this sensitivity is not a mistake of evolution, I believe that the excess pain in our feet from strains that do little real damage to the foot, exist to protect the rest of our body from excess stresses and strains. That it, yes it is extremely painful to slam our bare foot into the ground, and it doesn’t do proportional damage to the foot, certainly not immediately. But it does encourage us to land more lightly, putting less impact damage over time on our knees and spine.
So putting shoes on so we can continue running comfortably while slamming our feet into the ground, doesn’t really protect our feet from injury. But it does protect us from being aware of how much impact damage we’re doing to other parts of our body (which don’t have as much sensitivity – at least not until after they are badly damaged)
Pain is not the same thing as injury, though when we ignore pain the thing that is causing the pain can cause injury. And when we are injured, and use the injured portion of our body in a way that puts excess strain on it, we feel pain.
The reason we feel pain is to avoid injury, like with our hand in the fire, to avoid burning the hand, or turning into a lump of charcoal. Without pain we would be senseless, and probably wouldn’t live very long.
Or to allow injuries to heal by encouraging us not to put excess strains on our injured body parts.
If you are injured, you need to heal. In the meantime avoid straining (hurting) the injury. If you can figure out how to move or walk or run without causing pain to the injury, then you probably have eliminated the original cause of the injury. The key is to listen to your own body (and soles).
If you can’t, or until you do figure out how to move without causing pain to your injury, you should be resting, at least the injured area. You might even consider a “cast” … because they’re probably far too supportive for healthy feet, your old running shoes might suffice – as Michael Sandler calls them, “foot recovery devices. Just remember, if you need the shoes (or an actual cast) Then it isn’t time to be running!
If shoes don’t provide enough immobility to facilitate healing, then check with your Health Care Provider – or better yet, if you trust your Health Care Provider, check with them now!
Posted in: Pain and Injury