Free Curbside Pick-up or Free Economy Ground Shipping on orders $50+

En Français

Sports Injury

Medical Conditions Revealed Through Running - By Richard Beauchamp

Speaking from personal experience, my running helped to diagnose a potentially fatal heart condition early. I found one of my marathons extremely arduous, and subsequent runs were equally problematic. A trip to my family physician and a referral to a cardiac specialist resulted in open-heart surgery to replace a defective valve in my heart. Had I not been a runner, I would not have obtained this early diagnosis.

There are other situations where running and exercising can reveal medical conditions that might otherwise have remained undetected. It is important to note that running itself does not cause these conditions; in fact, participating in running and walking programs may actually bring these issues to your attention earlier than if you had been sedentary. It is essential to visit your family doctor regularly, especially if you have an active lifestyle and suspect that you may have any of these conditions.

Intermittent claudication

This condition causes severe leg pain and cramps during exercise. It occurs because the leg muscles are not getting enough oxygen, usually due to poor circulation or Peripheral Vascular Disease. It may also be a manifestation of an overall heart and circulatory problem that should be checked by a physician.

Delayed onset anaphylaxis

Researchers have discovered some instances where an atopic (allergic-type) individual was inadvertently exposed to an allergen, engaged in vigorous exercise several hours later, and consequently developed a severe, life-threatening allergic response (anaphylaxis). Runners who have allergies should be aware of this phenomenon and discuss their condition with their doctor before embarking on a new exercise program.


Coronary angina refers to the pain caused when the heart muscle is not getting enough oxygen to function properly. The coronary arteries can become narrowed (by arteriosclerosis, for example) thus restricting the delivery of blood to a certain area of the heart. If the occlusion is complete, an area of heart muscle may die— this is called a myocardial infarction (MI) or heart attack. A warning sign of this condition is angina (chest pain) that should alert the runner and his/her doctor for the need for more tests.

Spinal stenosis

Your spinal cord sends electrical messages from your brain to control the nerves that go to your arms and legs. In some situations (such as advanced age), the bones around the nerves' exit holes can become narrowed from increased bone growth or the formation of bone spurs from osteoarthritis. This can be further compromised by bulging or ruptured discs. The nerve compression can cause leg pain, sometimes with numbness and tingling, which makes running painful.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

This is a condition affecting the exchange of air in the lungs. The small muscles that control the tension in the windpipe and its tributaries can become narrowed and restrict the delivery of air to or from the lungs. Some of the various examples of COPD that can interfere with breathing include asthma, emphysema and bronchitis. Running and other forms of vigorous exercise require increased amounts of oxygen to allow the muscles to increase their energy output to match the demand. Runners should consult their doctor if they have any of the symptoms associated with COPD such as shortness of breath, wheezing or cyanosis (blue discolouration around the mouth or tips of the fingers).

Some of the above conditions might need fairly extensive investigations to confirm the diagnosis, and may require surgery to correct them. As a runner or walker, you are in a more enviable health condition to recover quickly with fewer complications than one who does not exercise. Again, I want to stress the importance of paying attention to your health and lifestyle with regular exercise, appropriate nutrition and regular medical check-ups. I know this firsthand, as I've been there myself.

Creating a Race?

Before creating a race, you must first login if you have a profile or set up a profile.

One you are logged in you will then be redirected to the Race Form afterwards.