What to Do about Running Injuries? A.R.T.

I don’t really like doctors. If you’ve gotten to know me at all, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’ve gone through more than a few. I think they have a point, for certain emergency room visits, diseases, broken bones, but athletic injuries? No. You can only be useless so many times before it’s really my fault for still giving you my money.

At some point a few years ago, after I traipsed through yet one more office to listen to one more medical professional suggest that “perhaps I ice it” or “had I tried not running” or “I should only increase my mileage by 10% each week, so if I’m running 10 miles this week, then run 11 next week, or if I’m running 15 miles right now, don’t do more than 16.5 next week,” as if I didn’t understand the concept of 10%, that I told the doctor that for my $50 co-pay he was going to have to give me more insight than I could get from Runner’s World.

Since then, I have more or less stopped going to doctors for sports use injuries. And, since I have been to enough physical therapists to know what they’d say anyway, it has worked just fine.

For the IT band/hip issues I deal with regularly (as everyone does), I’ve learned to develop a strength program that keeps a lot of the underused muscles strong and helps prevent injury. I use the foam roller to get the knots out of my legs, ice baths when I know I’m going to be sore, rotate through a handful of different shoes — all of which I think has helped prevent most injuries. I get massages when I know I’m getting tight and it keeps things loose. And, when something starts to be a problem and I start freaking out, I go to one of the two doctors I trust: my A.R.T guy, Dr. Kyle, or my chiropractor, Chappy, who really is more of jack-of-all-trades with lasers and little metal tools and a thing that like hangs you upside down.

Yesterday, I went to Dr. Kyle and he jammed his thumb so hard into my ankle that it made my hamstring hurt.

If you’ve never been to A.R.T. (Active Release Technique), it feels like this — which is actually a knife holder for your kitchen I saw on The View one day:


All it really is is a guy poking your muscles with his fingers while you move your leg or your arm or whatever hurts. But, it’s amazing how sharp they can make their fingers.

Dr. Kyle stuck his fingers in the arch of my foot and the inside of my ankle and my heel and I could feel the nasty shit being forced out of the area, like an actual little knot in my nerve being scraped out. I don’t know the scientific explanation, exactly, without sounding like I’m bullshitting, so here’s my explanation: My ankle/heel/foot is all fucked. Muscles have really tightened up, as I tried to compensate for cramps in my foot and for things hurting. That has trapped all kinds of tendons and nerves and what have you. You gotta get that shit worked out or you are screwed.

So, hopefully, that’s what he did.

It seems a little better, but sore. I’m optimistic. And, if not, I’ll go to my other guy tomorrow and get some cold lasers to fix that up.

Have you tried A.R.T?

7 thoughts on “What to Do about Running Injuries? A.R.T.

  1. Word! Doctors are useless for sports injuries… I had a physical scheduled a couple of years ago, and coincidentally tweaked my hamstring on a run that morning. My doctor noticed me limping a bit and said not to run for 6 weeks. The old smile-and-nod-and-do-my-own thing is the only solution when presented with such meaningful and productive advice.

    I have A.R.T., Graston or IMS whenever I have a niggle that needs to be sorted out. Works like a charm!

  2. I love your blog. And while not the most convenient drive, I’m totally bookmarking these docs that you recommend. I don’t think I expect too much of doctors — for them to TELL ME WHAT TO DO AND WHAT MY PROBLEM IS — but for all my money and dozens of appointments, I still don’t even have a diagnosis for my lingering running pain that has persisted for over a year. I kind of give up on doctors. But am bookmarking these two anyway….you are local! yay!!

  3. I agree, most doctors are useless. The two people who have kept me running are my massage therapist and my chiropractor. My chiropractor (Dr. Santipadri) is also a jack of all trades-type and works in ART, graston and massage. It’s amazing what he can do for only a $20 copayment. Graston on the foot and ART on the ankle are two of the most uncomfortable things. Although the neck adjustments still make me squeamish, but I attribute that to watching too many Steven Siegel movies growing up.

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