Most Effective Stretches Before a Run

It’s so important to properly warm up before a run to avoid injuries. There are some simple stretches you can do to get your body prepared to go on a run.

Low Lunge: From Downward-Facing Dog position, exhale and step your left foot forward between your hands, aligning the left knee over the heel. Then lower your right knee to the floor and, keeping the left knee fixed in place, slide the right back until you feel a comfortable stretch in the right front thigh and groin. Turn the top of your right foot to the floor and push up onto your right toes if it feels comfortable.

Quad Stretch: Stand up straight and position your feet next to each other. Lift your left foot behind your left glute and wrap your hand around the top of your foot. Pull the top of your foot and press your heel against your glute. Stop when you feel tension in your left quad and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Stretch your right quad the same way. Repeat this stretch six to eight times with each leg.

Ankle Circles: Strong ankles are an important part of a healthy lower body. To perform ankle circles, Lie down flat on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Lift one leg and stretch it above your body. Rotate the ankle clockwise for 10 seconds, then counter-clockwise for another 10 seconds. Repeat this with the other leg as well. Do 2 sets of 10 seconds on each leg daily for best results.

Always be sure to work up slowly to a run and to do a cool down to avoid running injuries.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Foot Stretches To Prevent Injuries

Plantar fasciitis is a runner’s recurring nightmare. It strikes when the thick band of fibers that runs along the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed. It can start as a minor irritation but can advance and develop into a very stubborn and sidelining injury, especially if it’s not treated promptly or properly. While ice, rest, orthotics, and pain relievers may ease the discomfort, the injury can come back repeatedly unless you address the underlying cause—weakness and tightness in the muscles and tendons that make up and support the foot.

There are a few quick and easy stretches you can do at home to help prevent and treat heel pain.

staircase-stretch

Stair Case Stretch: Stand on a step with your feet together. The toes and balls of your feet should be on the step but your heels should overhang the step. Be sure you are supporting yourself with one hand on a railing or wall. Slowly lift up and down on your toes ten times. Repeat three sets of ten lifts. This exercise helps to strengthen your feet and heels, preventing and healing Plantar Fasciitis.

wall-stretch

The Wall Stretch: Stand facing a wall with both feet together. Place your hands at shoulder height and width on the wall in front of you. Take a step forward with your right foot so that it is now only a few inches from the wall. Shift your weight onto your right leg and bend at the knee. Keeping both heels on the ground, lean your upper body slowly toward the wall until you feel a good stretch happening along the calf muscles of your left leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Return to your original position with both feet together. Repeat the stretch, this time putting your left leg forward. Do this exercise three times on each foot.

toe-wall-stretch

Toe To Wall Stretch: To begin this stretch, the heel should be on the ground and the toes on the wall. Place the opposite foot behind you. Keep the legs straight and move the entire body forward. Do not move your upper body forward and stick your backside out. You should feel a very strong stretch in the back of the calf and some stretch in the arch. To increase the stretch, move your heel closer to the wall and increase the angle of your foot. To decrease the stretch, move your heel back and lower your toes. Hold for 60 seconds and repeat 3 times.

To properly treat heel pain, you must absorb shock, provide cushioning and elevate the heel to transfer pressure. This can be accomplished with a heel cup, visco heel cradle, or an orthotic designed with materials that will absorb shock and shear forces. When the condition is pronation related (usually plantar fasciitis), an orthotic with medial posting and good arch support will control the pronation and prevent the inflammation of the plantar fascia. Footwear selection is also an important criteria when treating heel pain. Shoes with a firm heel counter, good arch support, and appropriate heel height are the ideal choice.

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DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Knee and Hip Pain? Your Big Toe Could Be to Blame

By David Reavy

Turf toe may make you think of high school football practice, but this little sprain can sideline almost any athlete, at any point. Whether you’re a runner, basketball or soccer player, martial artist, or even a dancer, if you push off your feet, you can be felled by this sharp pain at the toe joint. If it’s not properly addressed, the injury has long-term implications too.

Turf toe is a ligament sprain of the first metatarsal phalangeal (MTP) joint, also known as your big toe joint, where your foot and toe meet. The big toe plays a crucial role in balance and stability when you walk, jump, and run. As weight is transferred from the heel to the front of the foot, the big toe acts as a lever to allow the foot to push off the ground. An injury to the big toe can alter the entire mechanics of the leg; other muscles will compensate for the toe, which can lead to injuries in your feet, ankles, knees, and hips.

In an ideal world, you use your entire foot when pushing off. Take a look at your feet. Where are your calluses? The location of your calluses will tell you exactly how you use your foot now. If you looked at the feet of one of the most explosive players in basketball, you would see callouses spread out equally throughout all five metatarsal heads (located in your fore foot).

With turf toe clients, I typically see callouses on the medial side (the arch side) of their first MTP joint and big toe, which indicates improper push-off and an excessive rotation force on the first MTP. What this means is the foot is lacking the necessary mobility through the joints. Because of the decreased movement, a turf-toe client is forced to push off through the outside of the foot, causing an excessive amount of rotational force. Over time, this leads to the overextension and sprain of the big toe joint.

In my clinical practice, I’ve found that improper body alignment is the main culprit of turf toe. Pushing off requires the entire posterior chain — the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and foot muscles — to fire, and the opposite anterior chain to counterbalance that force. Improper alignment, like a forward pelvic tilt, can prevent your posterior chain from working properly and sends too much force through your toe.

So if you suffer from turf toe, or think you’re at risk based on your calluses, you need to work on getting your body into the right alignment and your posterior chain engaging properly. Here are some simple exercises that will help.

Shin Dorsiflexor Release

  • Find a stable, firm surface roughly knee height. Place lacrosse ball under the front of the shin and kneel onto it.
  • Slowly allow more body weight to sink into ball while your knee continues to bend. Pump your foot up and down until the discomfort in that area decreases.
  • Move ball around to multiple sore spots along to target entire muscle. Perform on both legs for 3 to 5 minutes.

Soleus Release

  • Sit on the ground with your lower calf on top of a lacrosse ball or foam roller.
  • Place your other leg over the one you’re releasing to add pressure, and roll yourself up and down over the ball.
  • Once you find a spot that is tender, stop and point your foot up and down for 30 seconds.

Big Toe MWM

  • Stand with one foot in front and one foot behind you. Most of your weight should be on the front foot.
  • Place a resistance band, anchored behind you, around your front ankle.
  • While keeping the entire front foot in contact with the ground, slowly rock your front knee forward while forcing your knee outward.
  • Rock forward as far as you can, but don’t let the heel rise off the ground. Return to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of 10 reps on each leg.

Banded Single Leg RDL

  • Stand with all of your weight on one foot, and a resistance band just under your kneecap on your standing leg, anchored so that it pulls your knee inward. Knee should be slightly bent, weight through the heel, shoulder blades down and back with arms in the shape of a W.
  • Force your knee out and extend your non-standing leg straight behind while simultaneously bringing chest forward toward the ground, hinging from the waist.
  • Hold and repeat for three sets of 10 reps on each leg. Do not rotate hips (should be parallel to the ground, keep back flat.)

Nose to Wall With Trunk Rotation

  • Stand on one foot with toes turned in, other foot is down behind you like a kickstand. All of your weight should be on your front foot.
  • With a soft bend in your front knee, shift weight from heel to ball of the foot, while keeping your back foot planted.
  • Make sure chest is up throughout the exercise. Repeat for three sets of 10 reps on each leg.

Source: Mens Journal | not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide