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No Pain, No Gain: Bad Advice for Athletes

The phrase "No pain, no gain" has been around forever, it seems.

There is only one problem: it is bad advice.

As a physical therapist, I am here to tell sports parents that there is no situation where the "no pain, no gain" advice is appropriate. Period. End of story.

Believe me, if young athletes want to play, they will. Filling their heads with the idea that sharp, numbing pain in the back of their leg is "okay" will only lead to massive problems down the line.

Sometimes an athlete will have stiff and sore muscles that just need a little more stretching and warm-up. That's fine.

But any time your child experiences point-specific, sharp, or constant pain, especially in daily activities such as walking, jogging, standing, climbing stairs, sitting, lifting objects over his head, or, worst of all, sleeping, all of which require only the fraction of the exertion required for sports, I can guarantee that playing sports will cause more problems.

Pain is a signal from the body that something is wrong. Pain requires evaluation by a physician, physical therapist, athletic trainer, or other sports related medical professional.  Do not let your child play or practice sports in pain. Talk to a doctor!