Saturday, November 9, 2013

Ankles can be a Pain in the Glute!

There are common physical complaints that come with running. If you are a runner, you can say them with me: ankles, knees, glutes and hips. The more you run, the more likely you’ll get the joy of more than one giving you a pain in the glute :-)

This week, let’s start closest to the ground on our ankles. I know when I run a lot, the first few steps every morning are tough. For me, this is compounded by the legacy of an old Lyme Disease infection when I was a kid.

So here are a few exercises that can help. I am working them into my exercise routine and I’d love to get your thoughts on them. Let me know if you think they hit the mark or are just a pain.

Ankles:  Stand on one foot on a pillow or Bosu ball and balance.  Hold it there for 60 seconds.  Switch, and repeat a few times.  This helps the small muscles in the ankle area gain their own “core” strength – making them less likely to get really injured on a loose rock or misstep. 

Calf Raise:  Just as important as strengthening your ankles to prevent ankle injury is to strengthen your calfs.  Do a three-way calf raise cycle.  First, place your toes facing forward on the edge of a step and do a set of 10 raises.  Point toes inward and repeat the raise.  Point toes outward and repeat. 

Calf stretch:  Put hands against wall and lunge with one leg toward the wall.  Hold with back foot as close to flat as possible.  Some people may not be able to have foot flat if they are having ankle tightness, but this is a goal. 

Foot:  Hold foot in hand, sitting down.  And stretch it with your hand, flexing and stretching.  This also helps those with plantar fasciitis. 

Remember, ankle injuries are common, but simple stretches for the ankle and surrounding muscles will help lessen this common complaint. 

Enjoy the weather, the foliage, the friendships on your path, and YOUR journey. 

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