Runners tend to look after their legs and train them to stronger, but foot and ankle mobility is often overlooked and forgot. Poor foot and ankle mobility can cause injuries that can appear upper legs. It also affects the running technique and speed. Foot and ankle absorb the shock when we run, the force is transmitted all the up in the back. Poor shock absorption make ankles stiff and cause calf and shin stiffness and other problems.
The role of foot and ankle
Everything starts with the toes. Even our toes are such a small part of the body, their role is huge. Good toes movement create a kinetic chain throughout the body, this chain is responsible for the muscles, tendons and bones and that all of them working together. You should be able to lift your toes, spread them and lifting your arch. If this is impossible, the arch is often collapsed, leading to the poor position of the foot when loading and unloading. Again, this can lead to knee and hip collapsing, pain and injuries.
Besides that our feet bare our body weight and work with shock absorption, their ligaments stretched when we get older. Feet and ankle exercises and mobility training support all those little muscles in our feet, improving and maintaining balance and stability.
foot and ankle exercises
There are a lot of excellent exercises that can be done easily, even when watching TV. It’s good the make sure good mobility, but also strengthening exercises.
ANKLE ROTATIONS: Keep your ankle in the air and rotate it clockwise a few times and also counterclockwise.
TOE EXERCISES: Place your foot flat ground, raise and lower your big toe a few times. Keep other toes on the ground. Do also the opposite, keeping your big toe on the ground and raise other toes. Try to keep your arch lifted all the time.
TOE SPREAD: Place your foot on the ground and spread your toes as wide as possible. Try to move every toe.
TOWEL CRUNCHES: Place a towel under your foot. Keep your heel on the ground and scrunch the towel toward you using your toes.
JUMP ROPE: Jumping a rope is great exercises to strengthening your toes. You can also do a small jump without a rope and try single-leg jumping.
BAREFEET WALKING: Walking in the sand or soft grass on barefeet, strengthens your foot.
BALL ROLLING: Place a tennis ball or other hardball under your foot and roll your foot back and forward. This massage and stretching little muscles.