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Marathon Q&A: Darryl Tannenbaum

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Dr. Darryl Tannenbaum
Dr. Darryl Tannenbaum

Dr. Darryl Tannenbaum is a board certified orthopedic surgeon with Columbus Regional Health’s Joint and Spine Center and Southern Indiana Orthopedics. He is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at University of Michigan. Tannenbaum has run in more than 20 races, completing the six World Major Marathons in places that include Boston, Berlin, London and Tokyo. He hopes to complete a marathon on every continent and plans to run one in Antarctica in March. Got a question? Send it to

Q: I have osteoarthritis in both of my knees, and I have been working out and running. I have a lot of pain in my knee joints, surprisingly more in the better of the two. What is the best running shoe for me to be wearing (I am a beginning runner), and is there a better compression sleeve? I have a knee brace that was fitted for my worse knee, but it is not giving me problems.

— Kimberly, Columbus

A: Kimberly, determining the best shoe for you requires a gait analysis while running on a treadmill to observe foot positioning as well as limb alignment. This is available in Indiana at specialty running stores.

If you have osteoarthritis, I would recommend that you choose a shoe that has extra cushion. A top-of-the-line running shoe with thicker heel foam is your best choice if it’s affordable.

With respect to compression sleeves, it is often a matter of trying on different braces and finding one that fits you best. I prefer neoprene ones as they don’t bunch up behind your knee. Arthritic knees often require more support than a compression sleeve alone can provide, and metal hinges are often built into the brace to provide extra stability.

Attending the Expo that coincides with the Mill Race Marathon will also give you the ability to see different shoe wear and bracing options.

Q: I have calcific tendinosis just inferior to my patella. This will flare up and cause occasional pain while running. Any suggestions on what to do to help with this issue?

— Brian, Columbus

A: Brian, there are some things that can help you. A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen 600 mg three times each day or naproxen 500 mg twice each day are often helpful with treating the symptoms.

In addition, icing the tendon 10 minutes three times each day with regular stretching exercises also will help reduce swelling and pain particularly after a run. Do those things for three weeks, and there should be a big difference. There is also a strap that can be placed around the patellar tendon to take pressure off the diseased segment of the tendon.

As a last resort, surgery to remove the calcium is an option with success rates over 90 percent. This is certainly a treatable condition that doesn’t need to end your running ambitions.

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