Preventing Running Injuries with “The Foot Core”

By: Maggie Webster, PT, DPT, CSCS

running

Our feet are our only connection to the ground throughout the day. They are responsible for absorbing force with each step we take and using it to power us into our next steps forward. Many of us include stretching and strengthening exercises for our shoulders, hips, and knees in our regular exercise routines, but the joints and muscles of our feet are often ignored until we experience pain or injury.

Recent studies have shown that foot strengthening exercises performed four times a week are successful in increasing foot muscle size and propulsive forces in recreational runners. Runners who performed foot strengthening exercises were 2.42 times less likely to experience a running related injury, compared to those who completed a 5-minute warm-up and full body stretching routine. The studies found that patients were able to make these gains with guided physical therapy appointments one time a week and completion of exercises on their own three days per week.

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the entire world and returning to indoor gyms is anxiety-provoking for many, running outdoors is a safe, accessible (and free!) exercise option. If you are an established runner hoping to improve your form and prevent injury, or looking to start a running program when the warm weather returns, reach out to your local PT office to schedule an appointment and start off on the right foot!

References:

Taddei, U. T., et al. “Foot Core Training to Prevent Running-Related Injuries: A Survival Analysis of a Single-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial.” Am J Sports Med, vol. 48, issue 14, December 2020, pp 3610-3619.

Taddei, U. T., et al. “Effects of a Foot Strengthening Program on Foot Muscle Morphology and Running Mechanics: A Proof-of-Concept, Single-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial.” Physical Therapy in Sport, vol. 42, March 2020, pp. 107–115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ptsp.2020.01.007

Maggie WebsterMaggie Webster PT, DPT, CSCS

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Phone: 609-890-4450

Maggie is a Physical Therapist and works in the RWJ Rehabilitation Ewing, NJ office. Maggie graduated from the University of Vermont and enjoys working with patients to help them create long-term changes for healthy and active lifestyles. Her special interests include running, hiking, traveling and reading.

The RWJ Rehabilitation Ewing office looks forward to assisting you. Please call our office at 609-890-4450 to schedule an appointment.