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Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation Institute

The Comeback Marathoner

AGH Sports Medicine helps injured long-distance runner resume racing.

The Comeback Marathoner

Jason Baim is the epitome of a competitive long-distance runner. Jason, who trains with the Pittsburgh Pharaoh Hounds running club, typically runs 40 to 50 miles a week, in virtually any weather conditions and often over demanding terrains. Since he started competitive running seven years ago, Jason has participated in a variety of road racing events, from shorter 5Ks to marathons. Nothing could stop Jason from achieving his personal best. But when Jason experienced a knee injury last August, his running regimen came to a complete standstill. “

I was training for the Philadelphia Marathon when I developed extreme pain and swelling under one of my knees,” recalls Jason, 43, a resident of Squirrel Hill. “It was impossible to run and I was concerned that I might not be able to compete well again.”

That’s when Jason decided to seek help from a medical expert. He made an appointment with Moira Davenport, MD, a sports medicine specialist at Allegheny Sports Medicine, part of Allegheny Health System’s Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation Institute. Following an exam and a MRI, Jason learned that he had patellar tendonitis—a common knee injury with runners.

Dr. Davenport had Jason start a rigorous rehabilitation program. She also used electrical stimulation to reduce pain and inflammation of Jason’s knee. In addition, Jason started a strength training program and began stretching more consistently to improve his flexibility.

“In the past, my training pretty much just involved running,” says Jason. “However, that wasn’t enough to compete and stay injury free. I learned that strength and flexibility training can help a runner reduce injuries and improve overall performance.”

Within a few months Jason’s knee improved so much that he was able to resume light running. Today, Jason is back to a more demanding training regimen and is preparing to compete in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

Jason says he felt an immediate bond with the staff at the Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation Institute. “Because Dr. Davenport and many of the rehab specialists also are runners and athletes, they understand the problems their patients face. They know how important it is for us to resume not only exercising, but also competing in races. I think that’s an invaluable perspective for the caregiving team to have.”

Now that he is almost fully recovered from his injury, Jason looks forward to running competitively for many years. “Running is an important part of who I am and it impacts my whole life—my health and my sense of well-being,” says Jason. “Athletes live for competition, whether it is against an opponent or against your best time. Running is very important for me and I am grateful that Allegheny Sports Medicine helped me get back to running.”

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