My Blog

Posts for category: Running

By Dr. Steven Miller
May 08, 2014
Category: Running
Tags: socks   marathon   race   training  

This is the start of marathon season in the Midwest. One-third of Illinois races are in the spring and the remaining two-thirds are in the fall. If you are looking for a mid-summer marathon, it can be found in our neighbor to the north - Wisconsin.

Here are important tips to help enhance your running health, and avoid common mistakes novice marathoners make.

It is not the marathon that will injure you, it's the training. Joan Benoit Samuelson and Jeff Galloway's books have good programs, particularly for novices. Training at race pace is important. Take at least one long run on similar terrain as you will be running on in the marathon. Experiment with different foods on long runs to find out what works best for you.

Don't try anything new on race day. This means socks, shoes, clothes, and other products. Wear synthetic fiber socks like acrylic or Coolmax to draw moisture away from your skin. Use Vaseline or blister prevention gel on any areas prone to blisters. Run at least 50 miles in the shoes in which you plan to race. Make sure you bring layers for race day, including a second pair of socks, gloves and a hat for after the race.

Keep moving around as much as possible in the days after the marathon. However, wait until the soreness is gone from your legs before resuming running. Anti-inflammatory, such as Aleve or Advil, may help ease pain in the first post-marathon week. Lubricate open blister areas with antibiotic ointment, and only cover them if absolutely needed.

March 12, 2013
Category: Running
Tags: metatarsal   stress   fracture  

March is typically the month when runners in colder climates (like ours) begin training outdoors. This can bring about another famous “March” – the dreaded march fracture. Historically, a metatarsal stress fracture has been called a march fracture because it was seen in soldiers who were marching for long periods of time. The International Association of Athletics Federations has been quoted as describing stress fractures as “the curse of athletes.”

Here are some important facts:

  •     Cause: Repetitive microtrauma to a bone, which develops over a period of days, weeks or months.
  •     Symptoms: Pain, especially with activity; sometimes swelling develops.
  •     Tests to confirm diagnosis: X-rays if problem is at least 3 weeks old; MRI; bone scan.
  •     Treatment: Rest; trauma shoe or brace; rarely is a cast needed.

So how can one try to prevent stress fractures? Changes in frequency or intensity of training should be gradual. Supportive footwear with shock-absorbing inserts are helpful. Supplemental calcium and vitamin D may help improve bone density for individuals at risk for low bone mineral density.

If you suspect a stress fracture, please call our office at 847-675-3400 for an evaluation or schedule your appointment online at

July 08, 2012
Category: Running

“What do you think about Vibram FiveFingers?” has become a common question. The same is asked about “Nike Free”. These are part of a growing trend of minimalist shoes.

Chris McDougall’s “Born to Run,” which came out in 2009 and has sold at least half a million copies, proposes that modern running shoes inhibit free movement. Unlike conventional running shoes, minimalist shoes are very flexible with little cushioning.

So here is my fifteen second answer. Some runners feel better since transitioning to minimalist shoes. But like most things in life, there is a tradeoff. I have seen an increased number of metatarsal stress fractures. Running is an extremely complex physical motion, and distance running (marathon) is particularly strenuous on the body. And don’t forget to consider the terrain (hard concrete vs. softer grass)