How to prevent injuries to the lower extremities

We asked on our foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Gregorio Caban what advice he would someone training for a triathlon, marathon or simply just trying to adopt a healthier more active lifestyle. Here’s what he had to say:

  • Proper stretching of the achilles tendon, quadriceps, and hamstrings is very important and can affect foot mechanics if not properly done or injury ( muscle strain, tear).  Proper way to stretch is light warm up, pre run stretch, and post run stretch.  Never stretch cold!
  • SHOES: invest in good pair of properly fitted shoes ( see your local running store), never run with new shoes make sure you “break them in” before the race.  Remember your milage on shoes 300 miles for avid runners, 500 miles for recreational runners before they are changed.  Do not go by wear as materials have memory which is lost as the mileage accumulates.
  • Make sure you wear proper socks.  There are excellent new materials that provide quick drying, and wicking of moisture away from the feet.  They also prevent blistering with proper cushioning such as Thorlos.
  • It is not recommended to take pain medications before a race as these can mask what we call protective threshold, which is pain that warns us of something happening in our body protective threshold.
  • Proper grooming of the nails is very important as it can prevent nail trauma  which can lead to ingrown toe nails, nail hematomas, detachment of nails, and fungal infections.
  • If there are any corns or  callouses they need to be attended by specialist before the race, deformities need to be accommodated for a more comfortable race.
  • Blistering: This is caused by frictional/ shearing forces on the skin and the shoe.  It is important to use form fitting shoes with the proper fit, you can use vaseline to high friction areas ( posterior heel, bunion region) , blister prevention bandages, or socks as mentioned above.  Remember to use(“break-in”) your shoes and make sure they are comfortable before the race.