Q&A With Dr. Tyler Eng

Dr. Tyler Eng


We’d like to introduce to you Dr. Tyler Eng, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Orthopedic Specialist, Certified Strength Conditioning Specialist, and run coach. He is the founder of Movespace Physical TherapyDr. Eng specializes in helping injured runners recover and achieve their personal bests. He focuses on overcoming injuries and helping each runner find their peak performance after they heal. 

He generously agreed to let us interview him using questions from our Instagram followers. 


Q: Have you been a runner for most of your life? How did you get into running?


Dr. Tyler Eng: I grew up playing soccer. Because running in soccer training is sometimes used as a punishment, I think a lot of people who grew up playing sports can probably relate to running not being their favorite activity. But during PT school my soccer career ended, and I was looking for ways to continue the exercise and stay in shape. 

One of my classmates encouraged me to participate in a half marathon, and my initial thought was, “Why would I want to do that?! That doesn’t sound fun at all.” But I got peer pressured in the best way. I did my first half marathon and fell in love with it. 


Q: A follower asked: While training for a race, I got injured. Can I heal without taking a break from my training?


Dr. Tyler Eng: That’s a good question and a pretty common one. In certain situations, we may want to back off running, depending on the injury. But, in the vast majority of cases, we don’t need to stop running or training entirely. Maintaining some semblance of training is probably going to help you recover faster. 

One of the big problems I see is the advice to just stop and shut down for six to eight weeks and then get back to running or training. The problem is people don’t ease back into training. They go back to where they were prior to the injury, but the body isn’t able to handle it. And they reinjure the same area or have a new injury. When they get stuck in this boom or bust cycle long enough, the injuries tend to get worse, your fitness goes down and down each time.

So, the short answer to this question is that you can continue training and recover at the same time. But it really depends on the type of injury and where you’re at in your training. Those are things you want to address with a professional to figure out where to modify your training to keep going.


Q: What are your best tips for preventing and treating shin splints?


Dr. Tyler Eng: Shin splints are super common. I’ve had them myself. 

The most common shin splint diagnosis is medial tibial stress syndrome. It’s basically when the shin bone is strained due to different muscles pulling on it. It could be the front of the shin muscles, the tibialis anterior, or the calf muscles.

Calf strength is strongly related to load on the shins. The calf muscles absorb more pounds of body weight or force each time you hit the ground than other muscle groups. So, focus more on calf strengthening to help improve your shin’s resilience to handling running. Try single-leg calf raises, calf raises with resistance, with a straight knee, with a bent knee, and different variations like that.

The other thing is load management. Make sure that you’re not doing too much too soon. Upping your mileage at a gradual pace can reduce your risk of shin splints and other injuries. 

If I were to give just two things to work on to prevention splints or reduce your risk, it’s strengthen your calves and make sure you manage your running load.


Q: Another common issue is knee pain during and after running. What can cause this, and how should you prevent it?


Dr. Tyler Eng: Runners who are upping their load too fast or increasing their volume too quickly may experience more knee symptoms. We also find knee pain to be a little bit more common with people who heel strike, particularly over-striders. 

I want to clear here that heel striking is not bad for you. A lot of runners who heel strike run perfectly fine and healthy. But, for some people, we do see more force being absorbed in the knee region, which could explain why some people have knee pain. 

Then the other thing is quadricep strength. A lot of people don’t have enough quadricep strength to handle the amount of force they’re dealing with, with running. So that’s another thing to look at as well.


Q: I experience consistent blistering on my pinky toes after long runs. What should I do differently?


Dr. Tyler Eng:  More often than not, it’s usually a shoe fitting size issue. Check if there enough space for your toes to splay in your shoe. 

If it is fitting properly, maybe the second thing I’d look at would be how the shoes are laced. If the shoes are not laced properly, there could be a little bit of sliding causing more friction. 

You might be familiar with the lace lock. Not every runner is familiar with this, but there’s a second hole at the top of your shoe laces. And it’s not there for aesthetics, it’s there to help secure your ankle in your shoe more efficiently. So definitely check the shoe size and make sure they’re laced properly.”


Q: What are some ankle strengthening exercises to help reduce sore or stiff ankles?


Dr. Tyler Eng: For people who have experienced ankle soreness or discomfort, we want to look at what part of the ankle is sore and that can determine what exercises to focus on. 

We also want to make sure that the problem is actually at the ankle and not somewhere else in the body that’s resulting in soreness in the ankle. Maybe we loading the ankles so much because we don’t have enough strength in our calves, quads, or glutes. 

I mentioned this before with the shin splints, but calf raises—if there’s one ankle exercise for runners—it’s Single-Leg calf raises. If you’re only doing two-sided calf raises, you may be compensating with the stronger side. So you won’t know that one side is significantly weaker until you do as singles.”


Thank you, Dr. Eng, for sharing your wealth of knowledge and passion for running with us! If you found this article helpful and want personalized help from Dr. Eng, he offers free 45-minute consultation calls. Take the first step towards injury-free running and achieving your personal best by booking a consultation today!

He also offers lots of helpful content on his Instagram account @movespacept



Leave a Reply