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Injury Prevention Tips for Runners


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

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.

Q1: I have been experiencing pain on my left knee on the side, and I think it might be iliotibial syndrome. I recently completed the Brooklyn half, but my knees gave up on me half way and I had to walk the rest. I was very disappointed and still have trouble bending my knee and walking. What do you recommend me to do to facilitate healing?

A: Unfortunately, the IT band is the bane of some runners existence. The good news is that you can win this fight by learning how to stretch your IT bands and use a foam roller.

Q2: Any particular advice for someone who doesn’t get shin splints during running but does the day after?

A: I think it is worth icing after your run and stretching anyway. Remember that sometimes shin splints are really an early stress fracture so if the pain is worsening then see a doctor.

Q3: I seem to have irritated my sciatica/piriformis a week ago. I’ve been seen by a PT and my condition appears to have improved but when trying to run 10 days later I still feel it. Do you have any recommendations on stretches or cross training options?

A: Deep water running is a great way to cross train. If the pain is really sciatica due to pressure of a herniated disk on your sciatic nerve then running or any impact sport can certainly worsen your condition. I am certain that you will return to running but it may take a while

Q4: Experiencing dull pain in the inside of my ankle – any idea what the source could be? Have iced/rested but pain has not gone away.

A: This could be posterior tibial tendonitis. If you have already tried ice and rest then a consultation with a sports medicine doctor or foot and ankle surgeon would be a good idea. It may be as easy as an injection or orthotic.

Q5: I’ve suffered three sprained ankles in the last 2 years of running consistently. What advice do you have to prevent this? I completed physical therapy in January for about 6 weeks and improved the strength in the ankle but still suffered an injury months later.

A: You need a maintenance program to keep your ankle strong. Single leg calf raises are good to keep your calf strong and work on balance.

Q6: Are shoe inserts really worth the investment for over-pronators? I have really supportive running shoes, but was thinking of getting inserts when someone recommended them to me at a running store after watching me run.

A: The answer is typically no. If you have pain then maybe, but if you are doing fine then it is likely a waste of money.

Q7: I drank chocolate milk after my half marathon and felt amazing but for my next race, I’d like an alternative that isn’t dairy based. If I can’t alternative, what can I do pre-post marathon do help my bones recover from the race?

A: After a race you need liquids with carbs and some protein. You can try a sports drink with a protein bar.

Dr. Sabrina Strickland, sports medicine surgeonDr. Sabrina Strickland is an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery’s Women’s Sports Medicine Center and at the HSS Stamford Outpatient Center, where she treats both male and female patients. Her research has focused on anterior cruciate ligament injuries in women, as well as rotator cuff repair and shoulder instability.

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.