Launching from the great story about high school supernova Cayla Hatton, the Johnson Brothers at Letsrun.com offer some smart advice — if your doctor tells you not to run, see someone else.
Take it away, Brojos:
Weekly Free Coaching Advice – Are You Under The Age Of 20 And Told By An Orthopedist Not To Run Because You Are Injury Prone – Don’t Believe Them & Go See A Physical Therapist
Last week’s recap was full of insight on Cayla Hatton, the high school prodigy who ran a 33:17 for 10,000 seemingly out of nowhere. Well, the website formerly known as Dyestat followed up on that run with an excellent profile piece by Doug Binder on Hatton last week. In it, Hatton elaborated on how she has battled back from some injuries that largely kept her during her sophomore and junior years of high school.
Hatton said that a doctor basically told her not to run anymore.
“Hatton said that her doctor told her there was a structural problem, that she had ‘retroverted cups’ in her hip joint. The doctor advised her that running would only lead to more pain and injury.
That news took Hatton to a new low.
“I went through all the phases of mourning,” she said. “I remember being so upset, so angry at (the doctor). I was in denial. But I also think the whole experience made me realize how much I love running. Before, it was soccer, and running was just a hobby. When (running) was taken away I realized how much I missed it.”
The sentiment – being told not to run any more by a doctor while under the age of 20 – is one that is pretty darn common (on a side note: we think the whole concept of not realizing how much one enjoys running until they aren’t running any more also is common).
Our advice – don’t believe it.
This issue is a bit personal for LetsRun as one of the co-founders was told while in HS by a prominent sports doctor- an NBA team physician – not to run as well. The quote still burns raw: “Since your nothing more really than a recreational runner and have had a series of stress fractures, it’s best that you don’t run and find another sport as you just weren’t cut out for the sport.”
Don’t totally ignore a doctor’s opinion, but at the very least get a second opinion. More importantly, runners should see physical therapists, as Hatton did, about their injury problems. Physical therapists help people run. Doctors normally tell people not to run.
Whenever teens or early 20s types talk to us about serious injuries, we generally tell them to adopt sort of the Chris McDougall “Born to Run” philosophy.
We’ll respond with something like, “You are a young guy (or girl) in the peak of or your physical prowess. Human beings are meant to be active. You won’t be hurt forever. Ultimately, your body almost certainly will get better if you keep trying different things.”
It’s unbelievable to us how many people are told to just “give up running” under the age of 25. We know of one person who was told their freshman year in college, after having a knee surgery that didn’t work, that they had arthritis and there was nothing that could be done except move to a better dry climate like Arizona. In reality, an ITB problem was very much solvable with some strengthening drills from a physical therapist. Unfortunately, this wasn’t figured out until three years of college were down the drain.
Injuries are frustrating, but there are few people in the prime of their lives so structurally unsound that there isn’t some way to get back to the sport they love. If you don’t believe us, believe Cayla Hatton.