Interview with a Podiatrist

Dr. Ethan Ciment is a Podiatric foot and ankle surgeon in private practice in New York City. He is the founder of Chelsea Foot and Ankle where he treats all aspects of foot and ankle medicine and surgery. Whether it is a simple skin or common nail disorder, sports medicine/sports-related injuries, reconstructive surgery, pediatrics, geriatrics, wound care, or diabetic limb salvage, Dr. Ciment treats the entire spectrum of foot and ankle medicine and surgery.

Why do you like working with runners?
I enjoy working with runners because they tend to be more motivated and determined than the average patient. Sadly, our culture has encouraged a passive approach to wellness. People often seek medical help later than they should. Many people also feel that a doctor should be able to simply write a prescription, give a shot, or administer some other "magic bullet" that immediately fixes the problem. So many people don't see their own critical role in actively participating in their recovery. Runners are just the opposite of this. In my experience, most runners seek help when they should, knowing that to delay this would impact their ability to run. Most runners tend to be proactive, very involved in their recovery, and diligent with home exercises, stretching and physical therapy. Though, as sports go, running can be one of the most negatively impacting on the lower extremity if done incorrectly, runners (in general) tend to be "dream patients" for foot and ankle specialists because they are engaged, determined, committed and they get better faster because of this active involvement and proactive attitude.

If you could tell a runner one piece of advice, what would it be?
Listen to your body. Pain can be a wonderful educator. Very often, people negotiate with themselves about levels of pain that they can tolerate and push through. Please don't push through all types of pain! This is the root of most running injuries. If you are running and suddenly feel pain, this can be an indication that something has been weakened or is at risk of being damaged. This is your body talking to you. Listen to it! Very often, this is an indication that your form is off in some way. I think that some people get a little "too in their head" in these moments; They start negotiating with themselves. Things like "Let's just go another mile and see if it's still hurting." So many folks decide that they need to just push through the pain or else they'll never meet their next level running fitness goal. Honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. Very often, just slowing down, going into a powerwalk for a few minutes, or actually stopping the run in those moments and getting help, is enough to spare you a longer interruption in your running/training cycle. Simply listening to the pain, respecting it and what it is telling you, and getting the help you need when you need it can be a game-changer for all levels of runners.

What is your go-to fitness activity and why? 
I would have to say that running is my go-to fitness activity because it's flexible and it's portable. I don't need to rely on a gym or health club to do it and I don't need "gear" or some other specialized equipment. I all need is just me, my legs and my sneakers (and preferably some great music and a gorgeous day!).

What is your favorite post workout meal?
I find it difficult to eat a full meal after running. That said, it's important to rehydrate and replace nutrients. I will often have a date shake if my run was in the morning because I can use those calories to power me through my day. If my run was in the evening, then I go lower calorie and lower carbohydrate: a simple salad with a tablespoon of hummus and five or six tempeh strips is ideal for me.