March 18, 2024
11 MIN

From BS&W: Foot & Ankle Care + Race Selection

My name is Dr. Brady Rhodes and I’ma foot and ankle surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center - Fort Worth. I’m here to discuss basic foot/ankle care and race selection for the Cowtown Marathon. As a 4-time full distance IM finisher, 5-time half iron man finisher and Cowtown Marathon and half marathon finisher, I have a unique perspective as both an athlete and medical professional.


How to select a race

The Cowtown marathon is as classic as the city of Fort Worth itself. It offers a 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon. Which race distance you choose should be based on:

·      Overall current fitness

·      Past medical history (including cardiac history)

·      Any past medical history of musculoskeletal injuries


Find a running plan

Once you have decided which race distance is best for you, find an online running plan that fits your schedule. It is important NOT to increase your mileage by more than 10% every week. Increasing mileage by more than 10% increases your risk for tendon injuries and stress fractures.


Find a running shoe

As a foot and ankle specialist, I am frequently asked what shoe is best for running. The answer is a simple one, there is NOT one specific shoe that is best for everyone. There are many types of foot structures, and for that reason my primary recommendation is choosing aNEUTRAL running shoe. Any local running shoe store has dozens of options of neutral running shoes. A neutral running shoe, generally, will accommodate a high and low arched foot.


I am frequently asked if an orthotic is necessary for runners with either high or low arches. Generally, Ido not recommend using an orthotic as a prophylactic measure. If you develop pain in the arch of your foot or in your ankle, see a local foot and ankle specialist with a knowledge in running mechanics and training strategies


It is also recommend to keep track of the mileage you put on your running shoes. As a general rule you should not run in a pair of shoes for more than 300-350 miles. In addition, I recommend racing in a shoe with under 100 miles on them.


Try not to get caught up in running shoe fads, zero drop, maximalist shoe, minimalist shoe. It’s easy as anew runner to get trapped in these buzz words. I recommend a running shoe with a 4-8mm drop, which is the difference in the back and front of your shoe. This will take tension of your Achilles and prevent injury. A stack height of 30-38mm is appropriate for most runners and running shoes, which will provide the most cushion to the foot and help in prevention of injuries.


Be proactive in injury prevention

Injury prevention is key for running, particularly in the foot and ankle. The most common ailments I see asa foot and ankle specialist is:

·      Plantar fasciitis

·      Achilles tendonitis

·      Stress fractures


Stretching your gastrocnemius, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia daily is key to preventing these injuries. ***The link below includes specific exercises I recommend.


Don’t over do it

Most new runners will over run in volume, speed, and intensity. The key to preventing injuries is to run 80% of your run volume at a pace that you can comfortably carry on a conversation with a friend. This will build your aerobic base, prevent injury in the foot and ankle, and allow you to have a larger volume.


Properly fuel your training

Nutrition during training is key to preventing injury. Taking in the appropriate grams of carbohydrates for training and grams of protein recovery is essential. Discuss with a local sports nutritionist an appropriate strategy for you. 75% to 100% of your bodyweight in lbs in grams of protein during training is key for preventing injury.Race day nutrition will vary from athlete to athlete. Have a routine and stick with it. And remember why you are there. To challenge yourself and be a better version of you.


Listen to your body

If you have any pain in your foot or ankle, see a local foot and ankle specialist, or take a day or two off.Recovery is key and listening to your body is essential in being successful during marathon training.


If you would like to have a pre training/race assessment of your foot and ankle biomechanics, including a plan for overall foot and ankle health, reach out to a local foot and ankle specialist with experience in endurance sports, one like me!


Good luck! Enjoy your race and remember, less than 1% of the American population has completed a marathon, so even if you’re moving slow, you’re still moving!


***Helpful exercise links:

-       Runners: Fit Feet Finish Faster

-       Achilles Tendon Stretches

-       Plantar Fasciitis Stretches & Exercises



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