Most runners don't see a sports medicine doctor until they are dealing with an injury or ongoing pain. And this is the right thing to do if you are injured; sports medicine doctors can diagnose and treat most running injuries. However, there is also another approach you can take. You could also start seeing a sports medicine doctor before you are injured, for preventative care purposes. Here are some services sports medicine doctors tend to offer in order to reduce your risk of injuries as a runner.
When you're running miles each day, the shoes you run those miles in are really important. Run in the wrong shoes and, over time, you'll put excessive strain on certain tissues; and those tend to be the tissues that become injured.
Sports medicine doctors are not usually shoe experts, although some are. However, what they can do is watch you run on a treadmill and give you feedback about your gait. You can then use this feedback to select shoes that will help support your gait and prevent injuries. For example, your sports medicine doctor may watch you run, tell you that you over-pronate, and then recommend you look for shoes made for over-pronation.
Toenails can cause also cause problems when you're a runner. If they rub on the top of your shoe too much, they can turn black and fall off. Or, you may develop ingrown toenails due to poor trimming techniques and shoe pressure. A sore and infected toe can take you out of the race just as easily as IT band syndrome and other more serious running injuries!
A sports medicine doctor can trim your toenails in a way that makes them less apt to rub against your shoe and cause problems. They can also show you how to more effectively trim your own nails at home.
Some sports medicine doctors will evaluate your flexibility and tell you which parts of your legs are overly tight. They can then show you some stretches to help loosen up these areas, which will help prevent injuries. For instance, if your doctor notices you have really tight calves, they may recommend some calf stretches, which ultimately can protect you from Achilles tendinitis down the road.
Running can cause all sorts of injuries, but working with a sports medicine doctor is a good way to prevent at least some of them.