Medical Advice for runners from the Red Cross

Strains, Sprains, Aches and Pains: Prevention is better than cure….


– Well fitting not tight shoes
– Wear socks
– Do not wear new footwear for the first time
– Reddening
– Fluid under the skin
– If you feel one starting see a first aider
– Do not pop them
– Following the race do not put on any creams or ointments. Do cover with a non adherent dressing.


– Take a drink at every opportunity
– Spasms
– Depends on the severity
– If it is in your side i.e. a stitch stop and let it wear off
– If it is in a limb stretch the limb out and massage it

BlistersRubbing / Chaffing

– Well fitting clothing
– Use vaseline if the area is prone to rubbing
– Redness
– Sore especially at clothing edges
– Protect the area with vaseline


– Do not drink alcohol the night before the race or directly after it.
– Take a drink at every opportunity
– Try to run in the shade if it is very hot
– Poor coordination
– Headache
– Dizziness
– Thirst
– Drink plenty of fluids
– Drink isotonic drinks if possible
– See a first aider
– If you feel bad after the race either take some dioralyte or drink a litre of water that has had 1tsp salt and 4-5tsps of sugar added.

Strains & Sprains

– Warm up adequately
– Wear well fitting footwear
– Look where you are running
– Pain
– Tender especially at the joint
– Maybe swelling
– Maybe bruising
– See a first aider
– If it is after the race then use the RICE principle
– Stop what you were doing that caused the injury.
– Rest – get off your feet, take the weight off the affected limb.
– Ice – Apply a bag of ice wrapped in a cloth to the affected area for 20 minutes every two hours.
– Compression – Wrap the area in an elastic bandage.
– Elevation – Raise the affected limb to a level above your heart.
– Anti-inflammatory drugs: Take ibuprofen to bring down inflammation.
See the doctor if there is significant swelling, stabbing or radiating pain or numbness or if it does not improve in 24 hours.

Chest pain or sudden shortage of breath

Do Not continue – see the nearest first aider who will advise you about what to do
Remember there will be first aiders throughout the course and there will be a manned first aid tent at the finish line. If you have a problem see a first aider or attend the tent where you will be assessed and if necessary treated and advised where to go.
Once the race has finished if you suffer groin strains, aches or pains try not to attend the casualty departments. There are alternatives (listed below) – only go to casualty as a last resort or if it is a problem of a more serious nature.

1. Your own general practitioner (GP) should be your first port of call.
2. Practice nurse at your GP surgery
3. Call 111 for advice on non-emergency health matters – full details of NHS 111 and all NHS emergency and urgent care services can be seen by clicking here (opens in new window).