Posted on Sep 13, 2017

Runners participating a "Marathon" are in the heart of their training stage.

Many like to run trails, some on the roads and others possibly even treadmills. Each method has its pros and cons.

Runners need to be aware of methods to keep their feet injury free as they get closer to race day. Dr. Brandon Gumbiner of the Indiana Podiatry Group said some of the most common issues runners deal with are plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and stress fractures.

Gumbiner said it is okay to run on treadmills for a portion of one’s training. The advantage of running on a treadmill is the flex that is built into treadmills, which helps reduce some of the impact running has on the feet and legs. However, he does not recommend anybody to rely solely on treadmill running for marathon training.

 “If you do all of your training on a treadmill and then go and run a race, you’re not going to have the flex and shock absorption on the road that you had on the treadmill,” Gumbiner said. “It’s going to put more strain and wear on your feet and legs and you’re going to be more likely to get shin splints, tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, as well as joint pain and potential stress fractures.”

The terrain on which a runner chooses to train has an effect on the function of the foot by both impact and uneven terrains. Since all streets are beveled, when you run close to the curb one leg will be extended longer than the other, Gumbiner said. He encourages runners to run on the sidewalk as opposed to the road to avoid the limb-length discrepancy. His advice to participants in the marathon races is to make sure you are running in the middle of the road on race day.

Dr. Gumbiner said that his advice to runners who are trying to prevent foot injuries is to stay active and stretch, stretch, stretch. Running will strengthen the muscles of the lower extremity as they are being used, but Gumbiner said it is important to stretch those muscles back out.

“Probably the No. 1 reason I see runners as patients is because they have a tight Achilles tendon that they haven’t stretched out,” Gumbiner said. “That can be the root to a lot of different pathological problems in the foot.”

Deciding to run a marathon one day and then running one the next day is not a good idea, Gumbiner said. The best way to prevent injuries as a new runner is to take it slow and do the training it takes to build up to a marathon race. There are a number of different training programs online that new runners can access to make sure they stay injury free.