Injury Prevention for Marathoners: Keeping Running Safe and Healthy FAQs

Public and Patient Education Department Program, January 25, 2006


Jordan D. Metzl, MD

Associate Attending Physician, Hospital for Special Surgery
Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Weill Cornell Medical College

Ramon Bermo,
Team in Training Head Running Coach
NYU Head Coach
Nike Running Club Head Coach
Michael Conlon, PT
Running Coach, Team in Training

Can a low-sodium diet affect my running capabilities?

Someone who is running in a marathon would usually want to increase their sodium intake due to the loss of salts caused by sweating. However, a low-salt diet is sometimes recommended for those individuals with cardiac related issues. If your physician has recommended a low-sodium diet, please speak with him/her about your marathon training and the possibility of increasing the sodium content of your diet.


What is the correlation between low estrogen levels and stress fractures?

Having low estrogen levels can lead to brittle bones. When a woman reaches menopause or just stops having her period due to insufficient nutrition, her estrogen levels are lowered. This in turn can lead to loss of bone mass, which directly affects fractures. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become thin and weak, often resulting in fractures (broken bones). Fractures can cause debilitating pain, reduced mobility, and a loss of quality of life. A bone screening called a DEXA can help you determine your bodyís individual bone mass. Low bone density can occur at any age, so if you develop a fracture or stress fracture itís important to speak with your doctor about the possibility that you are developing osteopenia or osteoporosis. This can be due to many factors, including genetics, diet, and low estrogen. For more information, please call the HSS Osteoporosis Prevention Center at 212-224-7935.


Can a very low resting heart rate be a sign of something serious?

The more in shape you are, the less pumps per minute your heart will have. When you are very fit, you toughen up your heart muscle, causing your heart to be stronger. Therefore, your heart will not have to beat as many times per minute. If symptoms such as dizziness develop during exercise, please see your physician.


What kind of pain is acceptable to run with?

Mild pain is when you experience tolerable pain that goes away as you continue running. This kind of pain is generally of no concern. The areas of concern arise when this kind of mild pain starts to get worse and limits the bodyís ability to tolerate exercise.

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