Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Injury Prevention

Ask a Trainer: How Should I Deal With Aches Until I Can Get to a Doc?

Injuries rarely happen at convenient times. Here's how to manage until you can get in to see a pro.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

You might be dealing with injury now, but your doctor or physical therapist might not be able to squeeze you in until the day after tomorrow. In the interim, what should you do? When aches, pains, and injuries strike when you’re away from professional help, turn to these three effective self-treatments.

RELATED: An Injury Guide for Triathletes

1. Compression

This is best used when you experience an acute injury, like an ankle sprain, that begins to swell instantly. Swelling makes the injured area weaker due to neuromuscular inhibition—in other words, it makes it harder for your brain to tell those muscles how to work properly, making it difficult for you to use that body part. And it can cause unbearable pain that compression can alleviate—without negatively affecting your body’s own healing process—until you’re able to see a health professional.

RELATED: Get to Know this New Injury Management Acronym

2. Soft Tissue Mobilization/Cross Friction Massage

This type of treatment can be used for several different types of chronic injuries that flare up inconveniently, like runner’s knee—the pain on the front of your knee just below your knee cap. Massage the affected area gently at first, then gradually increasing intensity for 3-5 minutes. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but it helps to “jump start” the healing process by re-activating your body’s natural healing response to help the injury get through the full healing process. This is also effective for IT band syndrome. Avoid using NSAIDs or ice after this type of treatment for 24-48 hours, because it will negate the jump-started healing process.

3. Myofascial Release

This treatment can help prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Several research articles discuss the efficacy of foam rolling and myofascial release techniques for increasing flexibility and reducing the effects of DOMS by helping the body more efficiently clear the by-products of exercise associated with soreness, like lactic acid. Roll right after exercise, focusing on the muscles you just used. Go the entire length of each muscle while varying the speed as you roll across them. If you find a knot (a small area of muscle fibers that are in a constant contraction), keep the roller or ball on that location for 10-20 seconds. By holding that spot, it’ll help the muscle relax.

RELATED: Ask a Trainer: How Can I Best Use a Foam Roller?

Dan Meier is the head athletic trainer who oversees the sports medicine program for Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A former collegiate football player, Meier competed at the ITU World Championships in 2015 and is an Ironman finisher.

Video: 4X World Champion Mirinda Carfrae Makes Her Picks for 70.3 Chattanooga

Carfrae and former pro Patrick Mckeon break down the iconic course in Chattanooga, who looks good for the pro women's race, and their predictions for how the day will play out.