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How can resting my injury cause more harm than good? By Marathon Physio Lucy Macdonald
When is complete rest advisable?
Complete rest is rarely advisable. The only case in which complete rest is essential is in the presence of bony damage like a fracture, or if you are ill. If you don’t rest when you are unwell you can end up with life-threatening illnesses like pericarditis.
How should I rest my injury?
Most injuries respond better to modifying the activity not avoiding it completely. There are many ways that this can be achieved for example by making changes to your running technique or altering the way you are training.
What negative effects can resting have in the long term?
Resting will feel good in the short term but long term it can:
Reduce the resilience of the tendons – tendons need to be loaded to recover. If you have a tendinopathy, previously known as tendinitis, resting it is likely to make it worse long term
Cause muscle wasting and weakness, therefore increasing the risk of re-injury
Limit circulation to the joints and nerves
Cause a deterioration in cardiovascular fitness
Result in reduced performance
Increase the chance of pain pathways becoming established
Drive you mad! Seriously though, rest can be really demotivating
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