It’s marathon weekend! Many months of training for more than 40,000 athletes will culminate on Sunday as they tackle the 26.2-mile course. Chicago is a terrific marathon city for first-timers as well as seasoned athletes, but please don’t let an injury be part of your marathon experience.
As an emergency room physician and urgent care provider, Dr. Khare has seen his fair share of post-marathon injuries. Here are the most common post-race injuries we see, and tips for how to prevent them:
Blisters – Spare socks, plenty of band-aids, petroleum jelly – do what you need to do to protect those feet. Post-race blisters can be really painful! And if you’re not careful, they can become infected.
Sprains & fractures – Running 26.2 miles puts tremendous stress on your muscles and joints. Stretch before, during and after the race to avoid overdoing it. If you’re worried about pain that seems more significant, visit our urgent care for an on-site X-ray.
Dizziness/fainting – Dizziness post-race is common and can be due to low blood pressure. After crossing the finish line, your blood pressure drops and as a result you can get lightheaded. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat. If you don’t feel better quickly, get checked out.
Muscle cramps – Cramping is known as “muscle overloading” or a fatigue cramp. Things like poor form, poor hip extension during the race and overall muscle fatigue can all contribute to cramping during and after the race. Stretching, using muscle rub and anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medications like Advil or Aleve can help. Also – keep moving! While it may be counter-intuitive, movement will help.
Headaches – Post-race headaches can be caused by low blood sugar. Headaches are also a sign of dehydration. You sweat out fluid while you run, and if you aren’t rehydrating enough headaches are common. In either case, be sure to replenish electrolytes and eat carbohydrates.
If you have any concerning symptoms, please make a virtual or in-person visit with an urgent care provider. Good luck runners!