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​Should I run the marathon if I am injured? Tips from running specialist physiotherapist.


As a physiotherapy and osteopathy clinic that treats loads of running injuries and in particular those who are running a marathon, we always have people who hobble into the clinic for the first time asking this question. Or, more accurately ‘I am going to run the marathon whatever you say so what can I do to reduce the pain?’. As you can imagine this is particularly common in those running for charity, especially as they normally have a very strong personal reason for doing so.

I hope you have found all of our marathon blogs useful including the radio interview on running/marathon training tips, the marathon training myth busters, running/marathon recovery and knee pain in runners. There is one more to go and I will continue to write articles after that about running. Don’t forget there are also lots of exercises, advice and videos on this website for runners. Please share these with any running buddies, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

So here’s the answer to running a marathon when injured or in pain:

First and foremost, do you truly understand the short and long term risks of running on your injury? For example, if you have certain types of stress fractures are you aware of the increased chance of hospitalisation due to the risk of embolisms?  These can com from the fracture site as well as the bone healing processes? If you have cartilage damage do you understand that this could shorten the lifespan of your joints so that you are less likely to be able to stay active in later life? In order to understand the risks you need to see an experienced Physiotherapist or Sports Doctor before race day to make an informed decision. Get in touch on 07769653715 if you are running the marathon on Sunday, better late than never.

Can you seek out some hands-on treatment and/or taping from and experienced Physiotherapist before kick off? It might give you some relief. If not try foam rolling your muscles – check out our exercise videos section of this website to learn how. Don’t rub the bit that is actually injured though, this could make it worse.

Now for the big question. Should I take painkillers and anti-inflammatories on the day? The quick answer is no. There are risks of severe kidney problems if you take anti-inflammatories when your body temperature is raised. As it is when running a marathon, so as tempting as they are please do avoid them. If you want to take paracetamol then go and see a qualified Pharmacist, GP or Sports Doctor who can run through the risks with you.

I hope you have found this helpful even it is not necessarily what you wanted to hear. As I said please do get in touch if you would like any advice even when the clinic is closed you can text or call on the clinic mobile 07769653715. And don’t forget to share this with your running buddies!

Lucy Macdonald
Chartered Physiotherapist

Lucy Macdonald has 14 years’ experience as a physiotherapist getting rid of pain and treating the cause of injuries in professional, amateur and non-sports people including members of the GB ski team. Lucy specialises in treating complex conditions and injuries, and regularly gets patients better who have been unsuccessfully treated elsewhere. This includes groin pain, knee pain, low back pain, shoulder pain, inflammatory conditions and hypermobility syndromes.

Lucy is equally happiest skiing in deep powder, at the opera or simply hanging out with her family, which recently gained a new member – a little boy. She enjoys world music, dancing, a good political debate, yoga, skiing, walking up mountains and is embarrassingly addicted to Zumba.

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