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Bring on the Pain-Learning to Interpret Soreness

Posted on October 6, 2009

Orthopedic surgeon Richard Herrick, MD, offers the following guidelines on interpreting some of the aches and pains that typically plague people in sports training.

  • If it did not hurt before you started but it really hurts while you’re working out, something is wrong.  Stop what you’re doing immediately.  See a sports medicine professional.
  • If it did not hurt while you were training but it hurts hours or days later, chances are it isn’t a significant problem and can be rehabbed using simple home methods.
  • If it hurts when you touch it but not when you use it, it is usually nothing serious.
  • If it hurts while you are using it but it’s a dull ache rather than an acute pain, it probably isn’t severe.
  • If it hurts a little during the day but gets worse at night, you probably need instruction on how to rehab it.
  • If it has minor swelling and only feint tenderness, it’s usually something mild.
  • If it has significant swelling, assume it’s major until proven otherwise.
  • It it snaps, clicks, or pops while you are training but there’s no pain associated with the sound, don’t worry about it.
  • If it interferes with your sleep three or four nights in a row, it needs to be investigated.
  • If it gets better while you’re working out, its probably nothing serious.

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