The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NYC Sports Medicine Doctors Offer Marathon Running Injury Prevention Tips

Posted by on Monday, July 14th, 2014


Marathon running injuries have been as high as 90% in some studies, according to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “There is a particularly high risk for injury once a threshold of 40 miles / week is crossed,” they add. The key to staying healthy enough to run a marathon is to speak to somebody “the minute that you feel a slight niggle,” says the UK GuardianIt’s a misconception that foot pain is normal and that you can just “run off” a marathon running injury.

nyc marathon
The NYC marathon is the largest in the world, with 50,304 finishers in 2013.
Image Source: Martineric via


Here at The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine in NYC, we treat a lot of marathon runners for sports injuries and foot pain. “Marathons and triathlons, as well as spartan-type races like tough mudders and Ironmans, are becoming increasingly popular in New York,” explains Dr. Nadia Levy, one of our esteemed board-certified podiatrists. “We regularly see people doing these races because they are so popular, but under-training and trying to run through extreme pain. It is great that we are all more active, but the training should be adequate.”

Three of the Most Common Marathon Running Injuries

A few of the most common running injuries for marathon runners that we treat include:

– Achilles tendonitis: Inflammation around the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel, which causes pain up the tendon when pushing off on the toes and limits motion.

– Plantar fasciitis: Inflammation along the plantar fascia that runs from the heel to the forefoot, across the arch, which causes stabbing pain — especially in the morning or after long periods of sitting.

– Peroneal tendonitis: Inflammation on the outer part of the lower leg and ankle, causing outer ankle swelling and foot pain that worsens after periods of inactivity.

Tips to Avoid Marathon Running Foot Pain & Injury

To avoid injury while training for a marathon:

Focus on prehab, rather than rehab. Most running injuries are a slow buildup over time that could have been prevented. Get a complete gait analysis and professional assessment of your biomechanics before you start your training. We can perform gait analysis at our NY sports medicine centers. We’ll be able to identify any instability in the ankles, knees, hips, or feet that may affect you in due time. We can then make specific recommendations for shoe choice, orthotic inserts, strength training, stretching, or stride-altering that can prevent injury.

– Start with a new pair of shoes. You need a good, new pair of supportive shoes. Forget the barefoot running trend, which has been shown to increase foot bone injuries, and go with the added cushioning and protection. The American Podiatric Medical Association recommends replacing running shoes every 300-400 miles. Alternating between a few different pairs can help you build your muscles and avoid repetitive motion injury. Podiatrists tend to like shoes by New Balance and Asics, but individual recommendations vary, so visit a NY podiatrist for a complete foot assessment.

– Switch to cross-training when you feel pain. Rather than go from tons of activity to a completely sedentary nature, try switching to low-impact cross-training activities like stationary biking or swimming to keep your fitness level up while you recuperate. Classic circuit strength training exercises should be done twice a week to offload pressure from stressed out joints and muscles.

– Slow and steady wins the race for beginners. If you are just getting started out, aim to increase your mileage by no more than 10 to 20 percent from week to week. When you increase your mileage, do not simultaneously increase intensity or decide to start running hills. There are many different strategies on how to get a faster run time, but beginners should be concerned with finishing before all else. Our New York long distance running trainers can help you create a game plan that will help you reach your mileage goals without injury. Don’t go it alone!

Marathon Runner Training in NYC

The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine (with offices in Manhattan & Westchester) is fully equipped with a well-rounded team of physical therapists, sports medicine doctors, coaches, podiatrists, and surgeons. We can help you tackle chronic foot pain and acute injuries, as well as answer any questions or address any concerns you may have about training for a marathon in New York. Our center’s founder, Dr. Josef Geldwert, served as the medical director for the Hamptons Marathon and was the former chief of podiatry for the NYC Marathon sponsored by the New York Road Runners Club. He has also served on the Medical Advisory Committee for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Two of our other podiatrists, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Nadia Levy, have also served as official on-site podiatrists for the Hamptons Marathon. For expert-level care, book your appointment with us online, so you don’t miss a beat in your NY marathon training!


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.