Check out former elite athlete‘s four easy measures to improve the health of your feet and lower limbs.
Your feet are the only parts of your body that hit the ground when running, and therefore they, along with your lower legs, bear a heavy load. The impact of each step, along with adjustments to compensate for any imbalances higher up in the body, mean your feet and lower limbs take a lot of strain while running.
1. Keep your feet strong and well-conditioned
Regular exercise routines for your feet, for example 10 minutes three times per week, will keep them in good working order. Ideally do exercises in bare feet or socks, and really try and work all the small muscles in your feet. Examples include scrunching a towel or picking up small objects with your toes, walking on tip-toes, on heels, and sideways, working you feet side to side using resistance bands, standing on one leg with your eyes closed, calf raises, walking with straight legs, etc.
2. Foot care
Simple ways of looking after your feet will help to stop problems from developing. For example, warming them up before training if you have cold feet, keeping toenails cut short, rolling over a golf ball to massage and stretch your arches, wearing compression socks for recovery, using a night-splint to stretch everything out overnight.
3. Causes could be elsewhere
Foot and lower limb injuries could well be caused elsewhere, for example by dysfunctional glutes. It’s tempting to treat the site of an injury but bring an open mind to what could be causing it, particularly if the injury is persistent or comes back repeatedly.
4. Well-fitting footwear
Running shoes are perhaps the most important piece of kit you’ll buy, so take time to find a pair that suit you. Be vigilant when you change your shoes, especially if you switch to a model that is quite different to what you are used to. But everyday shoes can cause injuries too, for example very flat summer sandals can contribute to plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis.
Our feet work hard and serve us well for our lifetimes. But we often neglect them and don’t give them the love and care they deserve. A little investment of time and energy to keep them in good form, and keep you running, is well worth it.
A hardcore football fan, Kofi Blay is also a data analyst and a Master chef.