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Injury Prevention in the Weeks before a Race

female runner

In preparation for the NYRR New York Mini 10-K, New York Road Runners hosted a live Facebook chat with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Anne Kelly on injury prevention. The following is an excerpt from the chat, with answers provided by Dr. Kelly.

The information provided in this chat is for informational and educational purposes, and doesn’t constitute medical or health advice for any individual problem. Please consult with your health care providers for any health problem and/or prior to starting any new exercise regimen and/or medication or changing or discontinuing any medication you have been prescribed. This chat is not intended to create a physician-patient relationship, or any other duty, between you and any member of HSS’ medical team.

I have persistent shin splints. They go away for several weeks and then return. What can I do to avoid them, and what can I do to lessen the pain?

For temporary relief, you can ice the front of your legs after activities. Also, do not run through the pain of shin splints. Rest until you can run without pain. To avoid shin splints, increase your mileage gradually. You may be training at too high a level. Non-impact exercises like swimming and biking will let you get a workout in without stressing your legs.

What would you recommend for persistent plantar fasciitis?

Stretching on a frozen water bottle is the best way to give your feet a good ice massage, which may help with plantar fasciitis.

I was told by an orthopedic doctor that I needed to rehabilitate and strengthen my knee muscles before doing the NYC marathon. Do you have any recommendations as to what I can do on my own to help alleviate the aches?

You could try riding a bicycle as a non-impact way of strengthening your knee muscles.

I’ve been having hip pain for more than a month. I believe my posture when running is good (straight back/looking forward). What could it be?

Hip pain could be many things, and is often difficult to decipher. Any pain that is recurrent and predictably painful should be evaluated by a physician or physical therapist.

I always cramp when I do long runs, usually in my calf and sometimes in my thigh, after mile eight or nine. How do I avoid this?

Cramping so regularly may be a sign of dehydration or electrolyte issues. Additionally, low potassium will cause cramping. Eating a banana is a convenient and popular way to increase your potassium intake.

How can I prevent knee injuries like torn ligaments or a torn meniscus?

The best way to prevent injury is stretching and listening to your body so you don’t push beyond your limits.

Do you recommend using foam rollers? When is the optimal time to foam roll in relation to a workout/run?

If it seems to increase your stretching regimen, then I would use them. After exercise is the more appropriate time to use a foam roller, as dynamic stretching is better for before.

I believe I have a strained hip flexor. How many days rest do I need, and how can I avoid this injury in the future?

Rest until running is not painful, then incorporate more stretching into your regimen.

I suffered a sprain in my left ankle after rolling it on a run. I wore an air cast and a brace, but since returning to running I am still having issues with pain and overall weakness. Any suggestions to help promote healing?

A physical therapist can give you a stretching and strengthening routine that will help you get back to pain-free running.

Dr. Anne M. Kelly, sports medicine surgeonDr. Anne M. Kelly is an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, specializing in shoulder and knee surgery. Dr. Kelly sees patients at the HSS main campus and our HSS Long Island office. She is an honorary chief for the New York City Fire Department and has served as an assistant team physician at St. John’s University and assistant medical consultant to the New York Racing Association. She was a consultant to the spring training of the Boston Red Sox from 1997 to 2005.


Topics: Performance
The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.