With the stage set for this year's New York City Marathon (and the decision made to proceed after Hurricane Sandy swept through the east) and the more than 47,000 runners presumably having completed their training, Dr. Robert Conenello sat down to answer a few questions and offer some last-minute advice on foot care for the race entrants. Dr. Conenello is President of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, the owner of Orangetown Podiatry, and a global clinical adviser to the Special Olympics, having volunteered his time and expertise to that organization for the past decade. He is also a past participant in the New York City Marathon.
Q. Is there anything runners should be focusing on now, with the race set to begin at 9:10 A.M. on Sunday (November 4)?
Dr. Conenello: The day before, you should try to hydrate and just relax. As far as your feet go, prepare. In other words, make sure that you have all the right gear, including a good moisture-wicking sock. If you have any hot spots on your feet, put Vaseline or some kind of body glide on them to make sure you don’t get blisters. And get a massage on Saturday. It’s a great idea to relax.
Q. What about mid-race? What should a runner do about foot pain that during the race?
Dr. Conenello: First, try to walk it off if you can. Take it slowly. It could just be cramps or tightness or improper posture. It could even be a simple thing like a sock that bunched up. If that’s not the case, seek medical attention. There are so many good professionals on the sidelines that can take care of you there. If you are having sharp discomfort, don’t try to run through it because it could be a problem. A stress fracture, or something like that.
And after the race, what should the runners do for their feet?
Dr. Conenello: Again, hydrate, because you could still have problems with your feet if you don’t have enough fluids in you. The most important thing for your feet, though, is R.I.C.E. That is, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Get your shoes off. Alternate as the day goes on between hot and cold treatment for your feet. Get another massage to get some of those toxins out of the muscles. If you have blisters, soak them in a little bath of Epsom salts to shrink them down. Cover them with a little antibiotic ointment and a non-stick dressing. If you’re in a lot of pain, or if you have a black toenail, go see your sports podiatrist. Those are the main things to address.