USC doctors offer advice for L.A. Marathon runners

Anyone who plans to run the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday should also plan to wear a hat. And old shoes.

Those are just two pieces of advice from physicians from the Keck Medical Center at USC who talked with us online on Monday about preparing for and recovering from a 26.2-mile run.


“I wouldn’t even do a 10K in brand new shoes,” said Dr. Sharon Orrange, an internist at Keck who has run the marathon and worked at the finish line. “You want shoes that you know exactly how they are going to rub .… The things that will really start to limit you and be uncomfortable at the end are your feet, your joints, your muscles.”

The hat, of course, is for sun protection, because you’ll be outside for several hours, even if you’re a fairly fast runner.

Dr. Seth Gamradt, director of Orthopedic athletic medicine at Keck and a triathlete, answered a question from a chat participant about knee and foot pain.

“In general I recommend when people are starting a marathon training program, they be within 20% of their ideal weight. A marathon training program is not a great way to say ‘I’m gonna lose a bunch of weight.’ You’re much better mixiing in some cycling or cross-training if you are trying to lose some weight.”

Extra body weight, he said, “is really going to take a toll.”

“I think everyone’s knees hurt to a degree when they get into these high mileage zones. But the danger signs are sharp pains, pain with every step. And then afterward if you have swelling in the knee that takes ice to go down, that’s really concerning,” Gamradt said. “Similarly, if you have foot pain that is escalating and it’s getting worse with every run, that can be a symptom of a stress fracture.”

To watch the L.A. marathon live on March 17, tune in to KTLA Ch. 5.