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Overuse in a marathon runner

Patient: I’m 27 and I seem to have a really bad case of runners knee. i’m training for a half marathon and i don’t want to stop training because the race is pretty soon. I have been to see the doctor and he gave me Anaprox for the inflammation and pain but during and after the run its still very painful. I was wondering if there’s anything else i can do or take to help with the pain.


Doctor: There is a very well described entity in the medical literature called: Overuse Syndrome, which can affect any part of t he body that is over stressed with movements or activities in a repetitive way, including occupational, recreational, and habitual activities. Repetition is part of the definition of overuse injury. The concept is that overuse injury is associated with repeated challenge without sufficient recovery time, and this is true for Body Building, Running, Jogging or any other sport or activity in which you exceed the guidelines and your own limits or capacities. Overuse injuries or repetitive motion injuries make up over 50% of all athletic-related injuries seen by doctors. Simple everyday actions, such as throwing a ball, scrubbing a floor, running or jogging, can lead to this condition. The most common types of repetitive motion injuries are tendonitis and bursitis. The healing time is different for each patient, and also depends on the severity of the initial injury. The suggested strategy in your case should be: begin stretching the muscles of the leg and foot, then use the elliptical for 20-30 min. a day as long as you tolerate it without pain or discomfort, you can use ice packs after the exercise routine to decrease inflammation and/or pain), try avoiding activities that reproduce the pain, and keep using anti inflammatory drugs (example: “Anaprox”). Try this routine and see how you are feeling day by day and accordingly decide if it is a good idea for you to get in the half marathon in one week. Remember, the pain is just letting you know that may be you are going beyond your own limits.


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Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Toronto. He currently operates Infinity Health Centre, a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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