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Injured? Don't Stop Moving

Injured? Don't Stop Moving

No one likes to be slowed down by an injury, but they do unfortunately happen. You do not, and really should not, stop moving completely because the injured area and the rest of your body can begin to atrophy – losing both muscle mass and strength, as well as range of motion.

If you have strained or pulled a muscle or sprained your ankle, you know exercise plays a role in recovery. As soon as possible, after injuring yourself you should follow the R.I.C.E. procedure: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Do consult with your physician or a physical therapist if the injury necessitates it.

When you begin to work out again, pay attention to how the injured area feels. Discomfort is OK, but pain is an indicator to stop. With most injuries, getting the area moving quickly after the injury actually speeds up the healing process. For example, if you have twisted your ankle, within a day or two of hurting yourself try drawing the alphabet with your big toe – as long as the motion doesn't cause pain. When you are able, you want to proceed with weight-bearing exercises, too.

Working those injured areas reminds me of that expression about "getting back on the horse." And not to "beat a dead horse," but you do know the best way to avoid sports injuries is properly warming up.

Get out there! Have fun! Play safe!


Join The Conversation
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Great tips.
megnmac megnmac 9 years
I sometimes feel like I am always breaking, it is part of my abusive relationship with running. But last year my husband and I really were good and getting up at 5am all winter long and running, and I also trained with my mom to walk my first half marathon with long walks on the weekend... and then I managed to sprain my foot. I got to the podiatrist when the pain got bad and didn't go away (I couldn't wear heels, couldn't run, something had to be done!)... I kept up some yoga and pilates, and walked another half marathon this year... but it took a long time before I could get up to running again.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
Definitely keep it moving...I had some pretty wicked tendonitis a while ago and I started moving it around gently (not enough to cause pain) and it definitely got better a lot quicker than if I had kept it completely still.
hbkduke hbkduke 9 years
Ditto to getting back on the horse. I had what I thought was a minor ankle sprain and kept trying to walk it off for a few weeks. As it turned out, I had a stress fracture in my ankle and a few torn tendons. So instead of being out a few days if I would have stopped, I was out a few months. My recommendation would be if it is an ankle, knee or leg injury, then do upper body exercises or something else that does not hurt.
silly3 silly3 9 years
After my experience with an ankle injury, I think that people should be really careful getting back on the horse! I hurt my ankle in October and thought it was just a sprain, so I used an air-cast and walked carefully, traced the alphabet, did some RICE, etc. I even tried a short run when swelling disappeared. After 6 weeks, it was still hurting and I went to my doctor. After X-rays, I discovered that I had broken a corner of a bone and I was placed in a walking boot for 6 weeks. It's now 6 months later and after three MRIs and countless physical therapy sessions (to build back that atrophied muscle!), I can only run on the treadmill for 5 minutes at a time (though I am slowly building on this). SO, while I think that exercising your injury can be good, do consult with your doctor and make sure that your injury is not actually more serious!! You don't want to end up like me :)
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
Since I started running I've gotten shin splints. it sucks, but I try to just rest them up and not aggravate the problem. Injuries suck, especially when you're on a roll and doing so good, then bam something lame happens. blah
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