When dedication defines your mindset on workouts (and results), it can be hard to back off your training – even if your body is begging you to.
If you’re pushing through pain, you’re putting yourself at a far greater risk of losing those gains than if you were to ease up on your long runs or put your ego aside and talk to a physiotherapist, says Janet Hamilton, an exercise physiologist with Running Strong.
“Listen to the feedback your body is giving you. If you have to alter your form to protect a sore spot, you can easily take one overuse injury and turn it into six,” Hamilton says, noting that, as a general rule of thumb, if you find yourself altering your exercise form or popping pills to push through pain, the risk of continuing training is not worth any potential reward. (Here’s a primer on knowing which pills are right to use for your injuries.)
Whether you’re pounding the pavement, plyometric boxes or the weightlifting floor, here are six common injuries that should make you hit the brakes. When you hear your body talking, back off with these expert-approved strategies.
1. Stress fractures
What they are: Microscopic breaks, these often happen in the feet, pelvis, or in the tibia and fibula, the bones that make up your lower leg, Hamilton says. When they occur in the lower leg, they are often called “shin splints.” Symptoms include pain that worsens when pressing on the area, single-leg hopping, or running.