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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:

  1. 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
  2. Cause muscle wasting and weakness, therefore increasing the risk of re-injury
  3. Limit circulation to the joints and nerves
  4. Cause a deterioration in cardiovascular fitness
  5. Result in reduced performance
  6. Increase the chance of pain pathways becoming established
  7. Drive you mad! Seriously though, rest can be really demotivating


More marathon physio advice 

Follow @octopusclinic on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and/or Lucy Macdonald on YouTube to access our latest free videos on marathon training and injury prevention. If you would like our marathon handbook and are running for charity please contact Lucy Macdonald directly on lucymacdonaldphysio@hotmail.co.uk or if you would like to get the video course Your Marathon: Your Physio please click on the link. 

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