The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

5 Fast Facts: Running Injury & Prevention

Posted by on Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Last week, runners in Buffalo, New York mourned the passing of Tim Donnelly, the director of the annual Turkey Trot. It saddens us to see him go so soon. The 61-year-old died unexpectedly of a heart attack, despite being an avid runner. One of the cruelties of life is that we can’t extend our lifespans beyond what our genetic coding has written, or predict the unexpected. We can, however, improve our odds for longevity by developing smart lifestyle habits to become the strongest, most resilient individuals we can be. For runners and athletes, who generally maintain a balanced diet and a high activity level, good healthcare also means practicing proper conditioning and recovery techniques–because no one wants to be laid low in their prime by a chronic running injury!

Choosing to eat right, stay active, train effectively, and recover correctly can all determine whether we’ll be mobile and pain-free in our final days, or whether we’ll suffer from debilitating, chronic issues for decades. The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in Manhattan works with a number of health-conscious runners who want to tackle their running injury or running discomfort proactively, and keep on trucking well into old age. Keep reading for six useful post-race recovery tips from the University of Utah, followed by five interesting facts about running injury and injury prevention for you to digest.

race recovery tips
Follow these post-race recovery tips to minimize the pounding your body takes! Image Source: Healthcare.Utah.edu

1.  Human feet can produce a pint of sweat per day from 250,000 sweat glands.

Gross, huh? So what do these statistics mean for runners? Well, for starters, you could end up with a serious set of blisters if you’re wearing regular old cotton socks. We understand the price of socks has gone through the roof, but it pays for avid runners to invest in specialty sweat-wicking socks with soft cushioning to prevent blisters and chafing. Compression socks ensure the blood keeps circulating while your feet pound the pavement. You may also want to consider sprinkling antifungal powder into those socks, using a UV shoe sanitizer, and alternating shoes every other day to allow for sufficient drying time to prevent foot fungus and odor.

2. Weak hip stabilization is more important than pronation for injury prevention.

A review of 283 separate studies indicates that weak hips are more to blame for running injuries than foot pronation. While we do recommend custom orthoses for some of our runners, we do not advocate them across the board as a one-size-fits-all solution. A hip strengthening program can reduce ankle joint pronation by 57 percent — thus reducing the incidence of foot / ankle pain and injury as well.

3. Habitual heel-strikers suffer twice the rate of stress injuries than forefoot-strikers.

Endurance runners who habitually strike the ground with their rearfoot suffer twice the rate of repetitive stress injuries compared to runners who mostly forefoot strike, according to a 2012 study published in the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. However, as study critic and UK gait analyst Jessica Leitch points out: “The evidence simply doesn’t support the theory that everyone should run with a midfoot or forefoot strike to avoid injury. Yes, it alters loading mechanics, with joints and tissues stressed differently by different footstrike types, but in doing so, it often shifts the problem from one area to another.” That’s why we recommend that you come into our Manhattan or Westchester office for gait analysis. With the help of sophisticated computer technology, we’ll assess how your body moves from the feet on up to determine where problem areas lie and what we can do to modify your gait before it becomes a problem. If you have pain already, we can get an accurate glimpse of the various factors that contributed to your injury.

4. Runner’s knee is the most common runner injury.

After that, runners frequently experience: stress fractures, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, pulled muscles, ankle sprains, and plantar fasciitis. In addition to having a strong body, we find a great number of these injuries can be prevented by wearing the right shoe. What constitutes the “right shoe” is an area of debate, but certain criteria are pretty obvious — support structure, comfortable padding, etc. Most importantly, the shoe should fit the individual properly and be updated. If you are running and have been in the same pair of shoes all year, that is a big red flag. Our NYC podiatrists are happy to help you determine your correct shoe size and style.

5. Platelet-rich plasma shows promise in the treatment of running injuries.

We are happy to offer our avid runners high-tech platelet-rich plasma injections, which use the platelets from the patient’s own blood to prompt fast, effective healing. We have used PRP therapy in athletes with great results for osteoarthritis, as well as Achilles tendinitis. A recent study shows statistically significant results, but it may be some time before insurers agree to pay for the new treatment. Our friendly office staff can help you find a means to pay for PRP therapy if other treatments prove frustratingly inadequate or your condition warrants it.

For more information on treatments for NY runners offered by The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, contact us here.

If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.