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Yissel McCardie: A Boston and NYC Marathoner’s Story of Running and Recovery

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Yissel McCardie is passionate about running and has logged her share of 5Ks and marathons, including running in the prestigious Boston and New York City events.

She is an El Cajon, California native, who moved to Arizona in May 1993 shortly after getting married. As a stay-at-home mom of two daughters and a part-time bookkeeper, she began running in 2007 for exercise when her youngest daughter was four-years-old.

“I joined a gym so I could exercise and my daughter could play in the babysitting area,” said Yissel. “I started slowly by running on the treadmill and then took my running outside after my daughter started kindergarten in the fall.”

Unfortunately, like many athletes, Yissel has sustained injuries over the course of her eight-year running career. Her first was just a month after she began running outside when her left heel and Achilles began to hurt. She tried nursing it back to health at home, but the pain kept getting worse.

At that time, Yissel came to see Dr. Brian Gruber, a board certified orthopedic surgeon with expertise in sports medicine. After an exam and MRI results, Dr. Gruber diagnosed Yissel with Achilles tendonitis and a stress fracture. She was advised not to run for six weeks.

“I had just signed up to run the Arizona Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon,” said Yissel. “But I was a good patient and stopped running. I healed and ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon a year later pain free.”

Since that initial injury, Yissel has seen and been treated by Dr. Gruber for other running-related injuries, including clavicle inflammation and arthritis and herniated disks in her lower back. She has also worked hard in physical therapy to build more strength in her legs, glut muscles and core, which has helped her continue to run and improve her marathon times.

“I am very faithful to my exercises,” said Yissel. “I am pretty much running pain free these days.”

Yissel would definitely recommend Dr. Gruber to her friends and family members. “Dr. Gruber and his entire team, including Physician Assistant Rob Hutchinson and Medical Assistant Susan Stewart, have always listened to my concerns and been very supportive. Dr. Gruber understands how important running is to me and works with me to come up with a treatment plan that involves me being able to continue to run for as long as physically possible.”

Yissel’s story illustrates the important relationship an amateur or professional athlete has with his or her orthopedic/sports medicine doctor and that doctor’s team of healthcare professionals. In Yissel’s case, the relationship spans eight years, where during that time she has been able to heal from running-related injuries and continue to participate in the sport she loves. In fact, last year when she ran her first New York City marathon, she improved her marathon time by 19 minutes.

“Dr. Gruber and his team have been a great support to me in my running journey,” said Yissel. “I am so grateful.”