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Avoiding Marathon Race Day Deal Breakers

If you’re running in the upcoming Boston Marathon, with hopes, your training is well underway. Many runners envision the moment they’ll gather with hundreds of globe trotting marathon or elite athletes at the historic starting line to begin a momentous 26.2 mile trek over a challenging course. With nearly six miles left in the run, participants will face legendary Heartbreak Hill, which will bring them to the finish line on Boylston Street. To complete a course of this magnitude, it involves reliance on every muscle to make it to the finish line. When injuries occur, it can derail years of hard work and dedication. SCPT has compiled a list of the leading injuries runners experience, symptoms to look out for, and how to avoid them.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome: Commonly referred to as runner’s knee, this condition is often caused by intense physical activity which puts repeated pressure on the knee. Runner’s knee can be aggravated by changing the frequency of exercise or running long distances. The Orthopedic Trauma Association (OTA) describes symptoms as a dull ache in the front of the knee. The pain often progresses with activity or after long periods of inactivity. OTA advises those who run to listen for a popping or crackling sound when climbing stairs or standing up. Runner’s knee can be treated by reducing activity levels or through physical therapy. SCPT can help you develop a stretching routine to strengthen the muscles that help to support the knee. (

Achilles tendinitis: Also referred to as tendinitis of the heel, this condition is a common overuse injury. The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) describes it as inflammation and degeneration within the tendon. Those who develop Achilles tendinitis may experience a burning pain, especially while engaging in morning activities. AOFAS suggests the most effective nonsurgical treatment options to be anti-inflammatory medications, immobilization of the heel, limited physical activity, ice, stretching, and heel lifts. SCPT’s physical therapists can address mechanical issues, training errors, and shoe or sneaker changes that make contribute to the condition. (

Plantar Fasciitis: Those with plantar fasciitis may feel as though they are walking on a pebble, which causes severe pain to the heel of the foot. Left untreated, this inflammation to the band of tissue connecting the heel bone and toes, may become a chronic condition which could compromise your active lifestyle. Treatment includes stretches which target the affected area and enhanced arch support. The therapists at SCPT specialize in biomechanical foot assessments and custom orthotics, to reduce pain and provide a proper fitting for sneakers and shoes, which are essential to a successful run. (

Shin Splints: Many avid runners have experienced the uncomfortable symptoms of shin splints at some point in their lives. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) defines this condition as pain along the inner edge of the shinbone (tibia). The pain is described as a razor-like or dull throbbing pain. If you have flat feet, abnormal arches, or have been exercising in worn-out sneakers, your risk for developing shin splints may increase. Prevention includes visiting a professional to determine the correct shoe for your unique foot shape and gradually increasing the intensity of your training. (

Runners should always listen to their bodies and seek the professional advice of their health care provider with questions regarding chronic pain. If pain is putting a hiccup in your race day training, visit SCPT for an assessment to uncover the source of discomfort. With proper treatment and determination, you’ll find yourself at the finish line year-after-year.

To assist runners in post-marathon recovery, SCPT invites all participants of the 2016 Boston Marathon for a free 15-minute injury assessment in the two weeks following the race. Good luck, runners!