The 5 Biggest Mistakes Inexperienced Runners Make Leading to Injury

1)     Training for a ½ or full marathon when you’ve never run a 5K or 10K- because of variability of muscle types, bone density, running mechanics and the efficiency of oxygen consumption, not everybody was made to run long-distance races. Some great athletes are hardly capable of running 5 miles. Then, you have those individuals who can run a ½ marathon and barely train to do it. If a novice runner, see what your body is capable of first by training for and completing shorter races before attempting much longer runs.

2)     Pushing through pain to get through a run- there’s fatigue, soreness, the muscle burn and then, there’s pain. Concerning pain includes sharp discomfort, pain that results in limping, constant pain and pain associated with swelling. Pain around a tendon or right over a bone is a warning sign. Don’t ignore the “check engine light” that comes on in your body. Learn to recognize the difference between the types of discomfort and seek medical attention when the concerning form of pain is present.

3)     The wrong footwear- this can be shoes that are too old or the wrong type for your foot and particular gait pattern. It’s time for new shoes when there’s visible wear of the tread, especially in the forefoot area (the third of the foot closest to the toes). Shoes should be updated every 300-500 miles or every 9-12 months, whichever comes first. Also, seek a true “fitting” for your shoes. The right size, width and style (stability, neutral, zero drop, etc.) are important choices, and you should avoid choosing the latest “fad” shoe or the one that has the coolest design simply for the fashion statement. Find a quality running store that can help you with these choices.

4)     Training with a partner of a different skill set- it’s generally best to train with someone of a similar skill set and set of goals. Many runners are competitive (whether they admit it or not!), and will push each other at times even on training runs. While this is not all bad, someone training for their first ½ marathon will likely struggle to keep up with someone that has run numerous long-distance races. What’s the net result? The inexperienced runner tries to keep up with the experienced runner in terms of speed, distance and mindset. This is a recipe for injury. If wanting to train with a partner, try to find one that is willing to follow a similar schedule and runs a similar pace.

5)     Making up for lost time- sometimes a training schedule gets derailed. An illness, an injury or a life event knocks a runner off his/her training schedule for a couple of weeks. Race day is nearing, and thus, the runner tries to advance the training schedule by increasing the number of running days each week or jumping ahead and doing more miles or longer runs than what he/she should be doing. Example: it’s late in the training schedule for a ½ marathon, and the longest run you’ve done is 7 miles. You missed 2 weeks of training because of a sinus infection. You jump ahead on the schedule and do 10 miles on a Saturday. Now, your shin is throbbing. Shin splint or stress fracture? Either way, you’re done! No race for you. No running for weeks to months. What should you have done instead? Resumed your training schedule where you left off before the illness. Then, if not ready for this race, postpone and run another one. There are ½ marathons within a region almost every weekend, especially from the late winter until the late spring. Or, you could have still run the race, but adjusted your goals. Maybe you change your mindset to just finishing the race, even it meant walking part of race. The bottom line: skipping steps in your training often results in an increased risk of injury.

At Impact Sports Medicine, we would rather help you prevent an injury, but when one does occur, we are ready to help! Enjoy your running!

The Guide to Regenerative Injections

Dr. Holmes’ Guide to Regenerative Injections

Regenerative injections are those specifically utilized to promote healing of damaged tissue, reduce or eliminate unhealthy inflammation and slow or halt the progression of soft tissue and joint deterioration. We now use them regularly for tendon problems including tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, the rotator cuff, the high hamstring, patellar and Achilles tendons. We also have seen great success in treating osteoarthritis of the knees, shoulders, hips, thumb and great toe joints. Plantar fasciitis, ligament and muscle tears are great candidates for regenerative injections as well. 

·      Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections

o   Blood obtained from an arm vein is centrifuged for 15-20 minutes, isolating the platelet-rich plasma

o   Platelets are very rich in our natural growth factors (healing agents), and are concentrated 6-10 times their natural concentration

o   Under ultrasound-guidance, the PRP is injected into the damaged tendon, ligament, fascia, joint or muscle

o   Great option for tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, small rotator cuff tears, small patellar tendon tears, high hamstring tendon tears, Achilles tendon tears, plantar fasciitis, etc.

o   Widely-used also for osteoarthritis of numerous joints

o   PROS: very natural and safe (your blood); used in orthopedics for ~10 years, Dr. Holmes has used for 7 years; numerous medical studies confirm significant benefit; 2-3 areas can be injected at one time; long-term benefit for most patients

o   CONS: these work gradually, over weeks to months; increased pain after the procedure for 2 days to 2 weeks; immobilization required with a splint or boot for some injections

o   UNKNOWNS: length of benefit (can be months to years); number and frequency of required injections. 1-2 injections initially for most soft tissue problems; 2-3 initially for arthritis/joint problems

·      Amniotic Membrane Allograft Injections (brand- AmnioFix)

o   Utilize one of the placental membranes (these cover the fetus during pregnancy) to form a product containing numerous types of growth factors

o   Intended to reduce inflammation, reduce scar tissue formation and enhance healing

o   The membrane undergoes a rigorous purification and sterilization process, and is stored as a dehydrated powder; sterile saline is added to become an injectable solution

o   Great option for plantar fasciitis (#1 use), tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, small rotator cuff tears, small patellar tendon tears, high hamstring tendon tears and small Achilles tendon partial tears

o   PROS: very safe, with no significant reportable adverse effects; Dr. Holmes has used for 5 years; no rejection, despite not being one’s own tissue; no blood draw required; typically less post-procedure pain than PRP

o   CONS: probably not as effective for joint pain/arthritis; otherwise, same cons as PRP

·      Amniotic Fluid Injections (brand- Catalyst PDA-HAF)

o   Very similar to amniotic membrane injections, but often stored in a frozen form and thawed immediately before injection

o   Contain over 200 different growth factors

o   Great option for soft tissue as well as joint problems such as osteoarthritis

o   PROS: theoretically, a more powerful amniotic product than a dehydrated membrane

o   CONS: more expensive than the dehydrated membrane product

·      Alpha-2-Macroglobulin Injections

o   A natural substance found in our bloodstream

o   Blood drawn from the patient, centrifuged, manually separated and then placed in a separation pump to further isolate and concentrate the A2M

o   45-minute procedure done in one office visit

o   Functions as a “protease inhibitor,” binding the inflammatory proteins that cause the degradation of cartilage in the joint

o   Utilized to reduce pain, inflammation, halt the progression of osteoarthritis and provide “longevity” to the joint

o   PROS: very safe and natural substance; presumed long-term benefit, less post-procedure discomfort than other injections; two to three injection sites can often be chosen with one procedure

o   CONS: newest type of regenerative injection; very few medical studies proving effectiveness thus far, but studies are underway; frequency of injections not known at this point (likely every 6-24 months)

With any of these injections, all forms of ORAL and TOPICAL anti-inflammatories must be stopped for 1 week before and 2 weeks after, as to not interrupt the initial healing cascade initiated by the injections. This includes:

·      Advil/Motrin/ibuprofen

·      Aleve/naproxen

·      Aspirin- any doses above 81 mg

·      Mobic/meloxicam, Celebrex/celecoxib, Voltaren/diclofenac

·      Fish oils/Omega-3 fatty acids

·      Turmeric

·      Oral green tea

·      Glucosamine/chondroitin

·      Arnica

COST: Regenerative injections are rarely ever covered by insurance. Although we closely monitor their coverage status, in the current climate of healthcare and insurance companies reducing their coverage of even typical treatment measures, we do not expect these injections to be covered in the near future.

With rising deductibles, many patients pay out-of-pocket for traditional treatment measures as well. Thus, a regenerative injection may ultimately be a similar out-of-pocket cost to traditional treatments but more clinically effective and cost-effective over the long-term.

A patient should view these injections as an investment into the long-term health of their tendons, fascia, ligaments and joints.

We are here to serve you! 

F. Clarke Holmes, M.D.