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Underfueling Can Lead To Injuries

Do you have a chronic injury that just won’t heal no matter what therapy or rehab you do for it?  Or do you keep getting new injuries, things that just don’t make sense? 

Here’s something you may not have considered when it comes to your injuries… 

How much are you eating? 

Yes, our bodies require appropriate caloric intake for energy to live and for energy to perform with training and racing.  What you may not realize is we also need appropriate caloric intake TO RECOVER AND TO REPAIR OUR BODIES! 

If we don’t give our bodies enough fuel on a regular basis to support our daily function and our daily training, we definitely aren’t giving our bodies the necessary fuel to heal itself.  This means injuries stick around and/or new injuries occur. 

So what exactly can happen to our bodies?  The tissues don’t repair themselves as well after training, eventually leading to tissue breakdown and injury. 

Soft tissue injuries 

Exercise causes “damage” to our muscles and stress to our tendons.  That is a totally normal process to occur.  The healing of that damage and stress is how our tissues (and bodies) become stronger. 

When the body is not able to heal the natural damage due to lack of fuel, the tissues begin to break down. 

What does this breakdown mean for your body? 

It means your body does not recover as well between workouts, placing you at greater risk of muscle strains, muscle tears, tendon inflammation (tendinitis), and tendon tears.  It also means it takes your body longer to recover from the injuries you do have. 

Besides the lack of repair from training, another issue that may occur is the body can begin pulling from itself when it needs the fuel to survive.  This means it may pull required energy and nutrients from your muscles.  This will naturally weaken the muscles, both in strength and integrity of the muscle, which may result in strains or tears. 

Stress fractures 

A number of reasons exist for why stress fractures occur.  One of them is due to being underfueled. 

Just like what was mentioned in the soft tissue injuries above, the body may start pulling energy and nutrients from the bones in order to survive.  This causes the bone structure to weaken, resulting in stress fractures over time. 

If you develop a stress fracture and continue to be underfueled, the stress fracture can (and likely will) take longer to heal than our normal bone healing time of 8-12 weeks. 

 

If you are dealing with injuries that just aren’t healing, start taking a look at your caloric intake as potentially playing a role in the slow healing process.  It may just be the step you are missing. 

Need help to figure this out?  Email me at brianne@getyourfixpt.com to get your questions answered. 

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