A blog by runners. For runners.

The Running Injuries Corner with Dr. Nace: October

Every month, Dr. Nace answers a wide array of running injury questions that were submitted by people just like you! If you have an injury question for Dr. Nace that you'd like covered next month, click “Ask the Dr” at the bottom of the page.

Ankle pain from barefoot running

IT Band Syndrome

Pain in left calf and shin

Hip replacement caused loss of muscle control

Ankle pain from barefoot running

My daughter had a jog-a-thon fundraiser and I unexpectedly ended up having to run a little over a mile barefoot. Since then, every step I take gives me pain on my left heel. I've been stretching and wearing ugly sneakers to help but nothing is working. Any ideas? -Brynelle


Since symptoms have persisted over two weeks it sounds like it could possibly be plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. Stretching and wearing sneakers is a good start but because since it has lingered you should consider getting an X-ray. Anti-inflammation OTC medicine could also help if it is tolerated.

IT Band Syndrome

Hello I've just taken up running although have been doing other exercises for years. I really enjoy running and always stretch before and after but I've recently been having trouble with my IT band. How can I prevent this from happening? It's very disheartening. Many thanks.


It sounds like this could be IT Band Syndrome and we haven't covered this particular topic. It is good that you are stretching so keep it up but you might want to get some physical therapy. Several possible treatments you should ask about are electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound, iontophoresis and soft tissue immobilization. Each of these can be great ways to rehab. We'll try to write an upcoming post about IT Band Syndrome so stay tuned.

Pain in left calf and shin

I'm a high school varsity water polo player, and recently our coach took the team up to soda springs for camp. We woke up early and went running, there was a lot of hill type crevices, really steep and aside from being light headed going from an elevation of 180 to 7,000 I hurt myself.
I was running down one side of the hill and jumped onto the other and I landed heavily on my left leg on the right side of the v shape and immediately felt pain in my left calf and shin. My parents don't think I need a doctor but it hurts to walk regularly or bend it. Do you know what's wrong with me? Please help. -Kenzie


It seems like it could be a calf strain but it is difficult to assess from this description. I would recommend further evaluation by a medical professional and possible X-Rays.

Hip replacement caused loss of muscle control

I had a total hip replacement that resulted in losing muscle control in my foot and ankle. In fact, the surgeon took me back into the operating room the following morning and verified he had not accidentally cut the nerve  “The nerve is virgin. I didn't come within an inch of it”.
I now have minimal voluntary control of all but the big toe  no control of it. The surgery was 6 years ago and I now feel a progressive tightening sensation in my leg. It doesn't actually seem to be tightening however and I walk with no AFO to try to keep extending the Achilles tendon, muscles etc. to minimize actual atrophy.
Is there anything I could do or use in the way of an orthotic to regain some control of my ankle and toes in order to regain balance when walking. I have fallen several times and am quite fearful of falling. I do use a cane or walking stick when walking outdoors. I will be 70 in July and am in generally very good health and physical condition. -Joe


From the description, it seems like you could be a candidate for an AFO with a built-in custom assist. It's called an AFO Dorsiflexion Assist and it can be specifically designed for you. It needs to be ordered by a physician and constructed by an Orthotist but it could be helpful.

Running Injuries

Dr. James Nace, MD

James Nace, MD is an orthopedic surgeon-joint replacement and doctor of general orthopedics specializing in hip, knee and shoulder joint preservation and reconstruction. He practices out of the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Maryland. Throughout his career as a physical therapist and orthopedic surgeon, Nace has gained the most satisfaction from treating runners and all types of athletes for their injuries and helping get them back to training and competing.

Click “ask the doctor” below to send us a tip on a running injury, or to ask Dr. Nace a question about running or training.

Ask the doctor

Note: due to the high volume of emails, we regret that Dr. Nace cannot answer every question.