Smart Training for Your Joints Part III
Exercises for the Ankles and Feet:
Toe Lifts: Being barefoot in a seated position with feet on the floor, try to lift your big toes from the floor as you keep the other 4 toes on the ground. Then reverse and lift the 4 other toes and keep the big toes on the floor. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Towel Crunches: Being barefoot in a seated position with feet on a smooth surface floor. Place a towel flat on the floor under your feet. Grasping at the towel with your toes, begin to scrunch the towel towards your with your toes. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Single-Leg Balance: Standing on the right foot, place the left foot in the air. Try to reach the right foot in front of you at a 12 o'clock position on a clock. Hold for 5 seconds. With the left foot still in the air, reach out to the side away from you at the 3 o'clock position. Hold for 5 seconds. Swing the left foot behind you towards the 6 o'clock position. Hold for 5 seconds. Then reach the left foot crossing behind your right leg towards the 9 o'clock position and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat the same on the other side.
Eccentric Calf Raises: Start in standing and use a wall, if necessary, for balance. Raise onto the toes of both feet. While on the toes, raise the left foot so all the weight is on the right toes. Slowly lower the right heel towards the ground keeping the left foot in the air. Lower the left foot to the ground to get back to starting position. Repeat on the other side. Do 10 repetitions on each foot.
Gastroc and Soleus Stretch: Stand facing a wall and place the left leg straight back behind you, keeping the heel on the ground. Bend your right front knee and lean in towards the wall until a stretch is felt in the back of your calf on the back leg. Hold for 30 seconds. Then slightly shift the left foot closer to the front right foot and bend both knees, keeping the heels on the ground until a stretch in the left Achilles is felt. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat both stretches on the other side.
These exercises are meant to be a guideline but their purpose is to provide postural correction, education, strengthening, flexibility, and balance. Each component plays a part in the act of running. By having the under utilized muscles firing correctly and improving our muscle's natural resting length, we become overall more efficient which is necessary to help avoid injuries in the future.