At Advanced Foot & Ankle, we're not just about treating foot problems – we live and breathe the active lifestyle we promote. Our Marketing Director, Marilyn Tarkalson, recently embodied this spirit by conquering the legendary Boston Marathon. Her journey offers valuable insights for runners of all levels, especially when it comes to foot health and injury prevention.

Running the Boston Marathon

Preparing for the Marathon: Marilyn's Approach

Marilyn's preparation for the Boston Marathon was a testament to the advice we give our patients at Advanced Foot & Ankle:

  1. Gradual Training Progression: Marilyn increased her mileage slowly.
  2. Proper Footwear: She got professionally fitted for running shoes, ensuring optimal support for her 26.2-mile journey.
  3. Cross-Training: Marilyn incorporated strength training and swimming into her routine, building overall fitness and reducing injury risk.
  4. Regular Check-ups: She scheduled periodic visits to our podiatrists to address any concerns early on.

The Marathon Experience

Marilyn described the Boston Marathon as both challenging and exhilarating. The historic course, enthusiastic crowds, and sense of accomplishment made every mile worth it. However, she also experienced firsthand some of the foot issues we often see in our practice.

Post-Marathon Recovery: What to Expect

After crossing the finish line, Marilyn experienced several common post-marathon foot issues:

  1. Black Toenails: The repetitive impact of 26.2 miles can cause bleeding under the nails. While often harmless, severe cases may require treatment.
  2. Blisters: Proper sock choice and foot care helped, but some blisters are almost inevitable in a marathon.
  3. General Soreness: The feet absorb significant impact during a marathon, leading to overall soreness.
  4. Swelling: Post-marathon foot swelling is common and usually subsides within a few days.

black toenails from running

Preventing Marathon-Related Foot Injuries

Drawing from Marilyn's experience and our podiatric expertise, here are key tips for preventing marathon-related foot injuries:

  1. Invest in Proper Footwear: Can't stress this enough – get fitted by professionals and replace shoes regularly.
  2. Gradually Build Mileage: Follow a structured training plan that slowly increases distance to allow your body to adapt.
  3. Listen to Your Body: Don't ignore persistent pain. Early intervention can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems.
  4. Cross-Train: Incorporate low-impact activities and strength training to build overall fitness and reduce injury risk.
  5. Proper Nail Care: Keep toenails trimmed and consider using protective products to prevent black toenails.
  6. Post-Run Care: Elevate your feet after long runs and use ice to reduce inflammation.
  7. Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration supports overall health and can help prevent cramping.

toenail pain after running

Marilyn's Boston Marathon experience has not only been a personal triumph but also a valuable learning opportunity for our practice. It reinforces the importance of proper foot care in achieving athletic goals, whether you're running a 5K, 10K, or full marathon.

At Advanced Foot & Ankle, we're committed to supporting runners at every level. Whether you're preparing for your first race or your fiftieth, our team is here to keep your feet healthy and ready for the challenge. Don't let foot problems hold you back from crossing that finish line – schedule a check-up with us and let's work together to achieve your running goals!

Recovering From a Race or Marathon

Marilyn used MLS laser treatment for minor foot injuries and to help speed up the recovery process. She did stretches to keep the plantar fasciitis from flaring up again. 


Remember, every step counts, and with the right care and preparation, you can go the distance. Just ask Marilyn – she's got the medal (and the recovered feet) to prove it!

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