Running away from injuryApril 26, 2012
With spring starting early this year, so did running and other outdoor activities. With the potential of a longer running season comes more risk of injury.
While you are running, your core is at your feet. It’s the first part of your body that hits the ground and what happens there determines what happens to the rest of the body. There are 26 bones and 19 muscles at the foot and those structures have to work hard as you continually pound the ground. If one or more of these muscles are not functioning as it should, it could lead to compensation, changing your “normal” running gait. By the time you feel pain in the foot, knee, or hip – you probably have been compensating a long time.
How do you help identify if these muscles are not functioning well? Here are a few good beginning self tests to see if there may be a potential problem.
While sitting on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor and shoulder width apart, slowly rotate your right foot inward at the ankle while keeping your toes in contact with the floor and without moving your upper leg inward as well. Now do the same with your left. Do they both look symmetrical? Did your foot or toes cramp? Now rotate your foot out using the same method. Look and feel for symmetry.
With your legs straight, slowly rotate your foot inward and back toward you. Do the same with the other foot. Does it look symmetrical? Does it feel the same or as easy as the other foot? Now rotate your foot out and back toward you. Look and feel and look for symmetry.
With your legs straight, rotate your foot inward and flex your foot and toes forward and down, repeat with the other foot. Now rotate your foot out and flex your foot and toes forward and down. Look and feel for symmetry.
If in any one of these tests showed that one foot did not look or feel the same as the other, it does not mean you are going to fall apart the next mile you run! It just means that potentially you may be compensating your run gait. To help improve symmetry, just perform these tests as exercises. Do each for six sets with six second isometric holds for each foot. Try doing it twice to three times a day or at least before and after you run or exercise.
If problems or pain arise, consult a MAT specialist or health care provider.
Here’s to a healthy running season, and a few PRs!
To set up a MAT consultation at FFC Gold Coast, contact Liz Callham at email@example.com.