With personalized sports medicine care during pregnancy, Carly stays active safely—even while recovering from a foot injury

Patient Carly Paul by a lake
Carly prepares for a run in La Jolla, California.

Carly Paul of Iowa City started running in high school and trained for marathons while in college. Now, more than a decade after she discovered endurance running, the sport remains a major part of her life.

For endurance athletes like Carly, training isn’t just about staying in shape for the next race—it’s a way of life. Training helps her manage everyday stress, and she enjoys the personal rewards of running right alongside her husband and their friends.

“A lot of our community has been built around running,” Carly says. “It’s really been a good thing for me.”

A doctor with a runner's mindset

When a hamstring injury caused her some discomfort last spring, Carly visited Tyler Slayman, MD, at University of Iowa Sports Medicine, for medical care and training advice.

Slayman, who specializes in working with endurance athletes, advised Carly to keep running, and he created a plan for her to strengthen her hamstrings for the long-term.

Slayman, who is also a runner, knows that endurance athletes require special attention to how their lifestyle and goals will be affected by medical care. The wrong approach can discourage the athlete from seeking treatment.

“One of the worst things you can say to a runner is, ‘Stop running,’” Slayman says. “My role is to either keep them running safely or modify their activity to get them back on the road as soon as possible.”

The injury every runner fears

Last fall, when she was 15 weeks pregnant, Carly was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her foot.

“That’s the injury every runner fears,” she says.

Slayman advised her to take a break from running.

“When Dr. Slayman said, ‘We need to stop running,’ I trusted him,” Carly says. “I knew he would only make me stop if it was absolutely necessary. When I do come back, I’ll be in the best position to run strong.”

An active recovery and safe pregnancy

But Slayman also knew Carly had intended to remain active through her pregnancy. His plan involved outfitting Carly with a boot and a reinforced shoe for a couple of months after her diagnosis so she could keep moving and stay safe.

“He made sure to tell me I could still exercise,” Carly says. “I could still do things that are good for me and the pregnancy, like swimming.”

Once Carly could walk pain-free without the reinforced shoe, Slayman gave her detailed instructions for getting back to running.

“Given the comfort I have with Dr. Slayman—knowing I can go to him when things don’t feel right—that alone will help my running exponentially,” Carly says. “When you’re looking for a doctor, you want someone who has the same running values you do. He’s been great and supportive with trying to get me back to something I really love.”

Iowa City, Iowa