We often say that the stability of your body is very important in running, therefore, in addition to the exercises for running, it is necessary to strengthen the muscles of the cortex and thighs, which are responsible for stability. A lot of attention is paid to work on the knees and ankles, but few people pay attention to the foot itself.
Recently, a rather interesting article appeared in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, in which a group of scientists raises the question of the importance of stabilizing the foot and working on the small muscles that form the “core of the legs.” We decided that it was worth sharing!
Our foot consists of large and small muscles, which are arranged in layers. There are large muscles that pass through the entire foot of the ankle. They are responsible for most of the foot movements, and it is on their strengthening that we focus. But besides them there are 11 more small, which are located a little deeper in the foot. They help stabilize the body when the foot hits the ground and repels while running. They also deform to absorb and conserve energy in the middle of the position, and support the arch of the foot.
What happens if you have a weak “core of the foot”? At the bottom of the foot there are four layers of muscles that support the arch of the foot. If these muscles are weak, then the load will go to the plantar fascia. Therefore, if you want to get rid of plantar fasciitis or prevent its appearance, you need to strengthen the internal muscles of the foot. In the body everything is connected, and weak soles can lead to abnormal movements, which eventually result in problems with the knees.
To strengthen the foot, there are several standard exercises. For example, the clotting of a small towel by feet: you drag the towel over the floor solely with the help of the muscles of the foot. Or “marble pickups” – raising the feet of marble balls from the floor. But these exercises involve mainly the large muscles of the foot, almost without affecting the small ones.
The authors of the study suggest other exercises. Put the foot on the floor in a neutral position, and then squeeze it using the internal muscles of the arch of the foot. In doing so, try to make sure that the fingers remain flat on the floor. You can start them by sitting in a chair, then complicate them and do it standing up, then on one leg.
We performed such an exercise during stretching exercises: sitting on the floor with your legs straight, you try to bend the foot so that an arc is formed, but the fingers should be protruding at the same time.
Another option – minimalist running shoes or running barefoot. The first positive changes will be noticeable after four months: the foot becomes a little shorter, the arch of the foot rises. It is these changes that show that the muscles are really stronger. Another advantage is an increase in the sensory sensitivity of the foot. This also plays an important role in developing sustainability.
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