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Sports Medicine Experts from Hospital for Special Surgery Give Advice on Avoiding Injury While Training for a Marathon

Series on distance running tips is downloadable as podcasts

NEW YORK—September 15, 2009

What runners don't know can hurt them - especially if they are involved in the strenuous training needed to run a marathon. Luckily for them, a new series of talks debuted by Hospital for Special Surgery provides the expert insight they need in order to prevent health issues that might befall them as they prepare.

The series, available as both online videos and podcasts, offers tips and advice on topics such as knee injuries, hip overuse prevention and strength training.

"Distance running puts high joint loads on the hip, knee, foot and ankle - so that's obvious that is where you'll see most of your running joint injuries," said sports medicine orthopedic surgeon Riley J. Williams, MD. There is a wealth of injuries that are specific to runners due to the repetitive nature of the motion involved with the sport, according to Williams, who is a member of the Sports Medicine Service at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

However, despite the repetition of joint movement involved in running, not all serious running regimes will inevitably result in injury, according to the video featuring sports medicine physician Jordan D. Metzl, MD. In fact, many running injuries are avoidable by creating a running plan and adhering to that schedule of training and stretching.

"Our idea of making your training program as healthy as possible is: how do you set proper goals, how do you keep yourself running for life, how do you recognize when there's an injury… and how do you work on prevention going forward?" Metzl said.

According to Metzl, a successful training program with realistic goals considers:

  • A runner’s starting point
  • Any prior running experience
  • "Building" as the runner trains to go further
  • "First timer" programs especially for marathons

The focus of the talks lies in the types of injuries that may occur, but the speakers also provide insightful tips about prevention, especially Polly de Mille, R.N., exercise physiologist, and Rob Maschi, DPT., Sports Rehabilitation and Performance Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, who both discussed the values of aerobic and strength training as means to improve running mechanics and, therefore, lessen the chance of injury.

"If you want to take it to the next level, running 10 Ks or even marathons, you really need to develop a good strength base to do that," Maschi said. "Unfortunately a lot of the injured runners I work with take the philosophy of running to train versus of training to run."

Other tips include a detailed running plan, descriptions of common injuries, such as tendonitis, sprains, strains or lower back pain and their symptoms as well as specific exercises to incorporate into training for maximum preventive value.

See the video series online at HSS.edu.



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