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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Golden Rule of Foot: Pushing Through Pain May Build Character, But It Also May Cause Permanent Injury

 Blogging on Wednesday is Golden Rule of Foot

      There is always some pain with athletic endeavors. But, one of my earlier Golden Rules of Foot: Follow the 3 day rule, If pain continues for 3 days without changing for the better, do something about it. I have spent 30 plus years in practice telling patients about my 3 day rule. Does anyone listen? Do I even listen?

      Yesterday I had my second patient need big toe joint fusion. It is supposedly the best operation for severe degenerative joint disease of the big toe joint, but how did the patient get there? How did the joint get so bad that she was the 2nd person ever to have such a drastic procedure? Did she push through pain daily? If she saw me 10 years ago, could the joint been saved?

     Probably the top post I refer my patients to daily regards understanding what is Good pain and what is Bad Pain. Here is the link.

     Life is too complicated to run to the doctor with every ache or pain, plus you may not get the best advice, or at least advice you want to hear. So, developing a better sense of when pain is harmful will definitely help us continue walking into our later years. Another Golden Rule of Foot: Listen to your Body. In sports medicine, this connects the patient to the treatment. The patient must be an active participant in the healing process. They must listen to the major and sometimes subtle trembling within the body. My wife Pat is one of the most astute listeners. I am in my head too much.

     So, with all my rambling, the Golden Rule of Foot I am focusing on today is Pushing Through Pain May Build Character, But It Can Also Cause Permanent Damage. Patients with high goals, I mean high, can be at risk of damaging their bodies permanently since the goal is so important. Patients with high pain thresholds may just not sense when they are hurting themselves. But even normal people, can do very stupid things and cause irreversible damage to important structures. Since athletics hurt, I must be hurting like everyone else. Who can they compare it to?

     From the Good Pain vs Bad Pain discussion, we learn that bad pain is definitely sharp and causes us to limp or favor the injury. In actuality, anything over level 2 pain (due to variations in pain thresholds) for a sustained period of time, can cause damage. It all boils down to that pain is our friend. Pain is normally telling us that something is wrong and we must fix it. We must reset the body back to homeostasis. A painful body must be taken seriously.

     I remember when I was first in practice that a patient in a lot of pain came into the office for treatment. Once he found out that the source of the pain was not serious, he said thank you and left. He never wanted treatment. He did not have time for that. But, he would of, if the problem he was dealing with was serious. He needed me to tell him to that all was fine, things were a little out of whack, but if he listened to his body he could be fine again without permanent damage. I was too new in practice to realize how much I helped him that day. I remember being amazed that he did not want any of the 10 treatments I had for him to try.

     So, if you have been in pain that is not improving for more than 3 days, if your pain level stays above 3 out of 10 when you are active, if you have sharp pain or limp, consider seeing someone to make sure you are at least not causing any permanent damage.


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Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.