The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Overuse Injuries in the 50+ Crowd- What You Need to Know about Foot Care and Mobility

Posted by on Monday, March 3rd, 2014


People generally tend to go one of two ways when they approach the “golden age” of 50. They may shrug their shoulders and wonder, “Why bother changing when the end is inevitable?” Or they may feel a sudden motivation to begin taking better care of their bodies before their health starts to go south. Here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City, we meet a lot of men and women who begin their running careers in their fifties. We are very supportive and encouraging of these patients, as running is one of the best activities to fine-tune the whole body. However, we are also careful to point out the potential for injury if the running regimen is not approached with caution.

marathon runner
Running is great exercise for baby boomers.
Image Source: Flickr User familymwr

Why Run?

A study from Stanford University published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that moderate exercise (one to four hours of running per week) equated with a 50% decreased rate of death from heart attacks, cancer, neurological disease, strokes, and infections. Furthermore, the study indicated that runners were no more likely to suffer from degenerative disease or arthritis than non-runners.


running injuries
Overuse injuries are common among runners of all ages.
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Most Common Overuse Injuries In Runners Age 50+

According to former marathon runner and internal medicine specialist Dr. Sharon Orrange, the most common overuse injuries in the 50+ crowd include:

– Hip injuries: The muscle rotating the hip and stabilizing the pelvis while running is often compromised. Treatment includes physical therapy, gait analysis, and anti-inflammatory medication.

– Labral tear: Torn cartilage in the hip can happen as the result of trauma, overuse, or arthritis. Treatment may include arthroscopic surgery, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medication.

–  Knee injuries: Cartilage tends to wear down in the knee area, especially as we age. Taping, knee braces, icing, and changing shoes are early interventions. Surgery is a last resort for chronic pain.

– Plantar fasciitis: Heel and arch pain represents a great deal of the patients we see. Stretching, icing, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, custom orthotics, and shockwave therapy are possible treatments.

– Achilles tendonitis: The stiffening of the Achilles tendon gets worse with age and activity. Rest is the best cure for this type of inflammation. 

– Metatarsalgia: Nerve pain in the ball of the foot can be relieved with special shoe padding or custom orthotics.

couch potato to 5k
The Couch Potato To 5K app can help you safely ramp up your running to reach 3.1 miles in 9 weeks.
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From Couch Potato To 5K: How To Start A Running Program

The Couch-To-5K app helps beginners train to run 3.1 miles starting with just 20 minute sessions, three days a week. “Use the 10-percent rule as a general guideline,” advises Runner’s World magazine writer Amby Burfoot. Never increase intensity, distance, or time by more than 10% from week to week. If you are prone to injury, you may want to reduce this percentage to 3 or 5%. It’s also important to run in quality shoes on flat surfaces, and to take it easy returning to activity following injury. Never “push through pain,” stretch aching limbs or try to cram in more than three days of running per week, says Jeff Galloway at

Here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC, we’d love to help you design a program that advances your goals, while keeping you injury-free. Contact us today for a consultation!



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.