Book an appointment

Sitio web en versión en español próximamente.

The shoulder
Hand surgery

Listening to Your Body

Rafael Nadal, professional tennis player, has decided he won’t play at Wimbledon or in the Olympic Games after “listening to my body.”

In a series of Tweets, Nadal explained that the rest would be necessary to "prolong his career...and continue to compete at the highest level". Though we do not yet know the nature of his bodily injury, we do think it is a smart decision.

Learning how to listen to our bodies and understand what is telling us is a skill as important as being good at your chosen sport. But, that can be very difficult at times, especially for elite athletes who feel the effects of workouts and performances every day. Soreness and pain is normal during workouts and when pushing yourself to be the best you can be—whether training for a triathlon or throwing a baseball or playing tennis—it’s hard to distinguish what is the normal effects of the workout and what is not. The consequences of playing through serious pain can be detrimental. We see many athletes who train endlessly for a sports competition only to be sidelined by an injury at the time of the event. If athletes can successfully listen to their bodies and understand their symptoms during their training, they will have a greater chance of successfully working through pain to participate in their chosen sporting event.

Symptoms You Should Listen to During a Workout

Listening to your body is imperative when training for a triathlon or a tennis match or many other sporting competitions. Symptoms that you might feel during training could either indicate joint stiffness, muscular tightness, muscle soreness or pain from a previous injury. Stiffness, soreness and tightness are normal symptoms encountered during training, especially in a warm-up. But, these symptoms should subside after approximately 10 minutes of an easy warm-up. However, sharp pain or severe tightness that persists during the workout could indicate a serious injury. Consistent and severe pain, when not working out is not normal for any athlete.

If you experience severe tightness or pain which persists during a workout, decrease the intensity, decrease the length of workout or distance in a run, and stretch throughout. If your symptoms subside, you can probably return to your normal workout the next day...but continue to listen to your body during the warm-up and workout. However, if the symptoms continue, REST! You may also benefit from icing the area(s) with pain every two hours and re-assess your symptoms after a couple of days. If you still feel symptoms at rest and the injured area is inflamed, you should continue to rest. If the symptoms persist at rest and last longer than two to four days, then you should visit the doctor or orthopedic specialist.

If you are working out and your body tells you to see the orthopedic specialist, give Ortho El Paso at call. Call 915-249-4000 for a consultation.