Foot and ankle mobility exercises for runners

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Foot and ankle strength is key for running-injury prevention

Runners’ feet and ankles can get overlooked, but they’re the basis of everything running-related. Paying attention to your foot and ankle mobility is one of the best things you can do for yourself to promote healthy, ache-and-pain free running. Jessica O’Connell is a 2016 Olympian in the 5,000m and a trainer at GRIT athletic coaching who says, “Foot and ankle mobility is important to work on so that force is distributed properly through your body.

When you are really stiff, extra force goes through your achilles tendon, plantar and many small foot bones which reduces running efficiency and can lead to injury.” Here’s a short pre-run routine that you can do before your workout to get your feet (and the rest of your body) moving well.

Foot rolling

Roll the bottom of your feet on a lacrosse or golf ball, pausing for 30 to 60 seconds on any tight spots. O’Connell also adds that if you have plantar fasciitis, rolling on a frozen water bottle may be soothing (however, this is a post-run-only activity).

Ankle mobility
Stand facing a wall with one foot as far away as possible (but allowing your knee to touch when it’s bent). You should feel this stretch in your ankle and lower-calf. As you improve, move your foot farther from the wall.

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