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November 14, 2017

Ask the Doctor: Which aches and pains can you keep moving through? Which ones require medical attention?

Written by Jennifer Van Allen

ashley perrott tri mediumOne of the most challenging parts of getting fit is staying healthy and injury free.  Dr. Ashley Perrott  is an Ironman finisher, busy mom, and family medicine physician at Novant Health Salem Family Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (See photo, left, of Ashley with her parents and brother Brett Miller, our Director of Business Development, at the start of Ironman Florida, which the whole family completed together!) Dr. Perrott is answering some of the most-common questions our users have on staying on track. 

How do you know which aches and pains you can keep exercising through, and which ones should send you running to a doctor?


Joint pains are more concerning than muscle pains in general.  Muscle soreness can be expected for 1-2 days after a more intense workout or more intense week of training.  This soreness should improve daily.  Recovery with rest or light workouts after an intense workout can help muscle soreness and stiffness.  Muscle injury lasts longer than this, and may prevent the ability to complete a light workout or even regular activity.  Rest will generally help this pain and soreness.  Any pain that gets worse with activity should prompt the athlete to reduce speed/intensity to avoid injury.  Muscle pain or weakness that persists despite rest is a reason to see your MD.

Joint or bone pain, swelling, or redness may represent more significant injury.  Certainly a specific episode of injury (rolling ankle, falling, tripping) that causes deformity should prompt an evaluation at the MD in some fashion.  Joint pain is worse with pressure on that joint even at rest.  Patients may complain of pain with standing, sitting, or laying down.  Instability is another concerning sign/symptom.  if a joint “gives out” or “catches” with activity it’s something that we would like to see.

In general an increase of more than 10% mileage or intensity per week can be associated with more injury.   

Have a question about staying healthy and injury free? Contact Us. 

Last modified on December 05, 2017
Jennifer Van Allen

Jennifer Van Allen

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