Are you Hammering on a Bent Nail?

By Sharon Martinez
In February 8, 2011

This morning, on my way to work, I passed a woman jogging on Archibald Ave. She was carrying several water bottles; apparently she was going to be running a while. In the short time it took me to pass her, I took in a number of details that bothered me.

It was evident she had a knee injury, as she had taped her leg above, over and below the knee with sticky white athletic tape. This tape certainly has no place in such a large quantity all over the knee joint. It hindered her mobility, and cut off the circulation to the area with excess compression. Because the leg could not bend, she was running with a distorted gait that put a lot of weight on her “good” side. The good side wasn’t going to stay good for long, however, because abnormal movement stressed everything from her right foot up to the knee, pelvis, back and neck. Her face told a story of painful determination. I felt sorry for her, but her plight brings up some points we should cover.

First, don’t hammer on a bent nail. This woman thought she should keep training, even if it hurt. The running was doing no good for her injured knee, and it was obvious that she was throwing her spine and pelvis further out of alignment with each stride. Next, get professional help when you need it. We don’t know exactly what was wrong with this lady, but a professional would never have taped her leg the way it was done. If she continues to self-treat, she’s going to lose her hard-earned running form, develop a boat load of muscle imbalances and joint stresses elsewhere, and see the muscles around her injured knee get weaker and weaker just when she needs them the most.

Should you tape an injury? Only if you know what you are doing.

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