Are you a runner? If you lace up those shoes and head out for a few miles at a time, regardless of your pace, then you are a runner! While great aerobic exercise, running is a repetitive activity that can cause stress or overuse injuries, especially if you’re piling on miles over the course of a week. Running shoes have all sorts of designs in order to help you feel more comfortable.
Good Footwear and Foot Strength are Important to Reduce Injury Risk
Good footwear is important for jogging and running, but good strength in your feet and ankles is just as important. We don’t often think about having strong feet until we’re faced with an injury.
Exercises to Build Foot Strength
Try these simple exercises to start building strength into your feet! These can be done three to four times per week, as part of your running routine.
These will help activate the intrinsic muscles in your feet that run along the plantar surface (the bottom). These muscles, combined with fascia, help support your arches and keep your feet from collapsing to the ground.
Sit with your shoes off and feet flat on the ground. Without lifting your foot, raise your arches; think about pressing your toes into the ground. You should feel this working in the middle of your arch. Try ten to fifteen repetitions; if you get a foot cramp, stop!
With your feet planted on the ground, lift your toes up toward the ceiling and hold them for 5 seconds. Do as many as you can until you feel fatigued, which might be ten, twenty, or thirty. You can do this sitting or standing.
If you’re able, try lifting only your big toe without lifting the other four toes. Some people can do this, some can’t. Give it a go!
These are like the arch lifts, but you’ll use more range of motion in your toes. On a smooth surface (like bathroom or kitchen tile), place a towel on the floor. Try to grab the towel with your toes and “scrunch” it toward you; then do the opposite and try to push it away from you. This can be tricky, so the more practice you can get, the better.
These target the ankle, but can help build endurance in your arches, too. Facing a counter or wall, simply lift yourself up on to the balls of your feet, then slowly lower yourself down. Perform 10 with your toes pointed forward, 10 with your toes out, and 10 with your toes pointed in; you’ll feel these working in your calf muscles.
Watch this video to see the exercises in action.
Is running a goal for you? We can help get you laced up and training for your next race. Reach out today!