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5 Essential running tips to prevent foot, ankle & heel injuries

According to a clinical survey, most of the foot and ankle injuries occur while running. Be it your early morning jog or sports practice; we run for various reasons to stay fit. And although it is the most effective exercise for the entire body, the way you run and maintain your body posture majorly impacts the outcome of this exercise. If you run in a way that puts pressure on your foot and jeopardizes your ankle and heel joints, you may suffer from an injury sooner or later.

These injuries are quite common and easily treatable today. However, to ensure you don’t suffer from such foot and ankle injuries, tips from orthopaedic experts always come in handy. Hence, here are some of the essential tips given by experts which you should follow to minimize the chances of incurring such injuries:

Stretching exercises:

Stretching each part of the legs is vital for maintaining their flexibility and improving blood circulation before exerting them with the running force. And merely moving your leg around or walking for a few minutes is not the right way to stretch your legs. Here are some basic stretching exercises that you must perform to jumpstart your leg muscles:

  • Plyometric Squat & Jump:
    • Stand upright with a shoulder-length distance between your feet which are facing slightly outwards. Hold out your chest while pushing out your hips and your hands together ahead of your chest. Squat down as much as possible and while rising, jump high enough and land on your toes softly.
  • Eccentric Calf Stretches:
    • Stand on the edge of a staircase step on toes with your heels hanging behind while supporting your body. Raise your heels as up above the level of the stair as you can focusing all weight on the toes, hold for a few seconds, then lower down your heels below the level of the stair.
  • Down Dog Position:
    • First, stand on both hands and knees like a dog. Then, put your feet back to achieve a flat plank position. Now, push your hip bone upwards, keeping your hand and knees straight and form an equilateral triangle with the floor. Finally, bend your right knee ahead while pushing your left heel on the floor, stretching the left calf. Hold the position for a few seconds and do the same for the right calf.
  • Straight Leg Calf Stretch or Wall Stretch:
    • Stand with your arms extended and rested against a wall and the rest of the body upright. Now put your left leg ahead by bending its knee and move your right leg backward without bending its knee, keeping both foot flat on the floor. Perform the same process for the other leg and repeat a few more times.

The Right Running Shoes:

Your shoe is your primary tool for running efficiently and appropriately. Hence, wear the right size and shape shoes that provide maximum cushioning and stability to your feet. 

If you have any structural deformities or problems in your feet, opt for custom orthotic devices with your shoes for maximum biomechanical movements.

If you feel your shoes have become ill-shaped and uncomfortable, change them immediately as running in old worn-out shoes is as bad as running inappropriately.

The Right Way Of Running:

Experiment with the different styles of running viz. heel-strike, mid-foot strike, and toe-strike run. See which style suits you best.

Run in a straight stride without letting your legs swing sideways or lunge too far. Also, avoid jumping while running and maintain a stable glide but not moving abdominal core at all.

And most importantly, increase your target distance slowly after multiple days instead of running an extra kilometre after every few days.

Occasional Cross-Training:

Repeating the same running routine for several days may lead to muscle overuse and other foot problems like plantar fasciitis. So, try and perform some cross-training exercises like cycling or swimming once a while to break the routine.

Preventing Overexertion:

We always try to overcome the pain of exercise to gain stamina and strength. However, there should be some limit to this pushing habit.

Seeking prompt treatment will prevent your foot and ankle from incurring any severe injury. If you want to learn more preventive tips or discuss your joint-related problems, you can visit our Alpha Hospital website to reach out to our orthopaedic experts and get the prompt orthopaedic doctor in Wakad.

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