Discomfort When Exercising? Know The Signs That Can Alert You To An Injury

Sports injuries threaten to become collateral damage from deconfusion. Doctors, physiotherapists and personal trainers have already warned him: be very careful about returning to sport after confinement, that many will go out with an extra kilo, with less muscle mass and, without a doubt, without the agility that systematic exercise provides. . And hardly a week of phase 0 of lack of confidence has proved them right: many sports injuries are occurring, more than usual.

“The fundamental cause is anxiety; we had all been at home for at least seven weeks and eager to do everything that could not be done from there, be it partying, shaking the grandchildren or going for a run; and when you can, you don’t settle for just a little bit, but rather you are eager to do a lot of what you wanted, for example to take a beating to run, and that’s why many people are hurting themselves ”, explains Christophe Ramírez , specialist in Sports Medicine and Sports Physical Education at the HLA clinic Dr. Sanz Vázquez and medical director of the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation.

The urge to exercise outdoors after so many days at home is causing more injuries than usual


Added to this is that, encouraged by the possibility of leaving home and moving outdoors, they have launched into sports, running and cycling, people who did not practice it before confinement and who had no prior physical preparation. or suitable material for it, and that they make typical mistakes of beginning athletes contributing to the injuries.

The most frequent, Dr. Ramírez points out, are the muscular ones – from small overloads to more or less severe fibrillar tears – and tendon injuries. “In the case of the latter, in many cases what happens is that the person had already dragged them before and with rest it seemed that they had been solved because they had stopped hurting, but when they resumed exercising they reappeared, because they were still here; It is like a breakdown in the car: even if you leave it standing for three months in the garage, when you use it again, the breakdown will continue there, ”he says.

The most frequent are muscle injuries (overloads and tears) and tendon injuries

Of course, not all the discomfort one feels when starting or resuming physical exercise are indicative of injury. “You have to differentiate between discomfort and pain, between” normal “discomforts and those that are no longer; and it is not the same if one is a regular athlete and feels pain than if one is not used to exercise, because then noticing pain can be normal, it may be stiffness … “, says the specialist in Sports Medicine.

So what symptoms or signs should be alert to quickly detect the possibility of injury and not aggravate it?

Warning signs

As a basic rule, explains Ramírez, when you notice discomfort or pain you should stop for a few minutes and see if it passes or not. “If I stop and get relief, it is a nuisance and I can continue; If I stop and the pain continues, something is happening ”and the body is warning.

Also in this case the situation is different if one is an athlete or not. “The usual athlete, whether professional or amateur, surely has already had an injury before (it is practically impossible to play sports without injury) and when it seems a nuisance he detects it and usually identifies if it is typical of that sport or if it is not habitual , or if it is more intense or lasts longer than normal ”, indicates the specialist.

He adds that, on the contrary, “people not accustomed to physical activity do not know how to listen to their bodies as much and must be more careful, especially when setting real and achievable goals to precisely avoid injury.”

Regular athletes should avoid straining and waiting three to four weeks to do what they did before confinement.
(Mané Espinosa)

Specifies that if one is not used to exercise and takes a long walk, runs or rides a bicycle, it is normal to feel discomfort or general pain due to lack of activity. “They are stiffness, and in a couple of days they should have been relieved,” he says. If not, he emphasizes, if they are not passed, it is that there may be something more “and a specialist should be consulted to rule out any injury.”

Another warning sign, he adds, is that the discomfort is not generalized but punctual and localized in one place: calf, knee, thigh, ankle … “If the discomfort is out of the ordinary and lasts more than 24 or 48 hours, the doctor should also be consulted; my advice is that it is always better to consult more than less, “he says.


In any case, when it comes to injuries, it is best to prevent them. Now that the majority of the population is recovering activity, that athletes are encouraged to exercise more intensely, and that people who previously did not run or bike now are busy doing so, it is advisable to be cautious and go little by little. These precautions are different depending on the profile and the physical state of the person.

“Anyone who has had an injury before, for example tendinitis, surely has prevention guidelines provided by their doctor or physical therapist; Ideally, he would not have left these exercises or guidelines during confinement, but in any case, he should do them now before returning to daily life, “says Ramírez.

“Those who have already had an injury should follow prevention guidelines before exercising normally”

Christophe Ramírez
Specialist in Sports Medicine and Sports Physical Education

Regarding those who already practiced sport regularly and habitually before the state of alarm was declared, the way to prevent injuries is to “give yourself three to four weeks to return to the physical state you were in before, because if you Let go of anxiety and start running every day, he will hurt himself and he will not be able to do more ”.

As for those who are now going to do sports, the advice of the medical director of the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation is to do little of many things but never much of anything. “You can go one day to walk, another one to ride a bike, swim, run … That it pecks at many things, that it varies a lot without doing any activity in an intense way,” he says.

“Running an hour with less than six months of training seems outrageous”

Christophe Ramírez
Medical Director R. Fed. Esp. Athletics

To this he adds the importance of setting reasonable and achievable goals. “Someone who has never run cannot pretend to run an hour on the first day; You should test if you can run three minutes, then walk two, run three, walk two, run three, and already walk home; the next day those 9 minutes can lengthen them to 12, another day to 15 … and so on until they run for 30 minutes. Because running an hour with less than six months of training seems outrageous to me, ”he emphasizes.

Eye to the material

To avoid injuries, beginner athletes must also take into account under what conditions, with what material they go for a walk, run or ride a bike. It’s not about equipping yourself like a pro, nor going out for an hour’s walk in flip flops or running in Converse-style sneakers, which can damage your heels for lack of cushioning.

Walking with flip-flops, for example, can cause tibial periodistitis because to hold it we have to force the extensor muscles of the fingers. In addition, the lack of cushioning can also end up causing heel pain, and the friction between the toes causes blisters between them.

Some people have dusted off their bikes after years of not using them, and lack of practice can lead to falls and injuries
(BrankoPhoto / Getty Images)

In the case of neo-cyclists, it is essential to ensure above all that their size and saddle adjustments are adequate to prevent knee injuries. “And above all, do not abuse, go little by little”, and at first not spend more than an hour riding if you are not used to it.

Better little and more times

Dr. Ramírez insists that the best recipe for practicing exercise without injury is to opt for many micro-stimuli, for doing many times little instead of exerting yourself a lot few times. “Instead of walking an hour in a row, the ideal would be to walk three times a day for 20 minutes … But if you can’t … In any case, the important thing is to be constant and move throughout the day,” he says. .

Because to avoid the risks of sedentary lifestyle, it is not enough to go out for an hour to run or ride a bike. “Then you have to keep moving, go out to take out the garbage, walk the dog, do an exercise bike while watching television … Better than doing nothing is doing sports once a day, but much better is complementing it with other things”, stresses the sports medicine expert.

“For laces, the best thing is to keep moving; lying on the sofa is a very slow cure “

Christophe Ramírez
Sports Medicine Specialist

And that move is valid for both advanced athletes and beginners. And also to remove the laces. “If everything hurts from the stiffness, lying on the sofa is not the cure, or it is a very slow cure; the best thing for them to pass is to keep moving; If you have the stiffness because you have run, do not go running, but walk, or bike; or even for a walk with the dog ”, advises the medical director of the HLA clinic Dr. Sanz Vázquez.