Friday, 17 April 2020

Preventing Foot Injuries

5 Exercises For Your Feet to Prevent Injury

There are a wealth of products on the market claiming not only to make you a faster runner, but to decrease your risk of injury, a somewhat plague amongst the modern running community. Cushioned soles, stability controls, barefoot mimickry and  counter-pronation padding is the jargon we are sold as we approach the cash desk in the large sports chains. Or if you choose to visit a more independent running store you might be set up on a treadmill to be told you have multiple body mechanics issues and be sold a shoe that will apparently fix all of them. 10% off for customer loyalty. What maybe hasn’t been considered is the more protection, awkward positions and support we give our feet, the weaker they will grow and the more reliant on orthotics we become.

This isn’t to say you should start rambling through woodlands barefoot (although each to their own), but why don’t we start at the root of the problem. Our feet.
The landing point of each step we take which takes the majority of impact and will determine what goes on throughout your whole body above for a smooth journey. These are 5 of the best exercises for your feet and ankles to allow more stable, strong and natural running form. Without the jargon.

Make sure to warm up your feet and ankle by walking a little and doing some ankle rolls before starting…

Heel raises

An oldy but goody. Find a suitable step and bring only the balls of your feet and about half an inch behind that onto the top of it, allowing your heels to drop below as far as you feel comfortable. Now lift yourself onto your toes, being careful not to allow your ankles and knees to roll in, but keeping a straight line through your legs. Start off with 10 repetitions and work your way up by 5 each day.

Toe walks

This is as simple as it sounds. Bring yourself up onto your toes, again being careful to keep a straight line through your ankles. Start with 10 steps on each foot then increase by 5 on each foot as you progress day by day. They will only be baby steps so don’t worry you’re not going very far, just focus.

 Heel walks

Same as above, but this time reach your toes up towards your shins as far as you can and begin to walk. I found this even harder than toe walks, you will feel the burn in the muscles surrounding the front of your legs.

Toe Resistance

Find an elastic band (I used a hairband) and place this around your toes about halfway up. Not try and spread your toes as far apart as possible and hold in this position for 5-10 seconds. This exercise increases balance in landing from running and walking, both majorly important for your kinetic chain. Repeat 3 times and gradually build up the time you hold by approximately 3 seconds each day.

Single leg hops

This exercise is best performed in a mirror to ensure you are keeping a straight-line form with the leg you land on and not rolling your ankle either in or out. Bring your left knee up to hold the foot next to the knee of the right supporting leg. Now, using your arms to help pump yourself up just like on the trails, perform a small hop on the right leg. Allow time for balance to be achieved from the landing and hold. Now repeat 10 times. Switch sides.
You can progress these a little faster than the other exercise, keeping a close eye on form, by up to 10 each day.

I hope these help you prevent the nagging injuries us runners are prone to. Please allow up to a month to start noticing drastic results, although you should notice a difference after the first week.

Love Helen

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