Our feet, the heroes of our body. They do all of our heavy lifting everyday and almost never complain about it. What do you do to maintain your feet?
Imagine tomorrow if you had to start walking around on your hands just how sore, tight, fatigued and possibly damaged they would be. Obviously we have been walking around on our feet for most of our lives. It's not until we bring focus to the feet that we realize the engineering masterpiece that they are and how much of a load and how much stress they carry for us everyday.
When running, the load on your muscles and joints is exponentially increased compared to walking. Your feet are included in this and are the initial impact point for ground contact. We've all heard someone say "I'm going out to pound the pavement", and its exactly what some of us do. Everyone's running cadence (foot strike per minute) is different. A good cadence (how many times one of your feet strikes the ground per minute) depending on your running gait is usually around 90. If you run for an hour each foot is striking the ground over 5000 times an hour. Even for the runner with the lightest foot strike, that's a lot of times to land with all of your body wight plus the multiplying effects of gravity and inertia on your one foot. It is for this reason that we need to give our feet some love.
When the tissues and tendons of the foot begins to get tight (plantar fascia, achilles tendon, calf) it starts an upside down cascading affect from there. By taking a few minutes each day to massage our feet and do a few mobility exercises we can better manage our foot health.
A lacrosse ball can be purchased for under ten bucks. Pop it under your foot an roll it around to stretch and massage the tissues. It can also be used to stretch the calf and help mobilize the achilles tendon by placing your fore foot on the ball and applying pressure. Lacrosse balls are cheap, easy to travel with and useful for maintianing tissue health in many different parts of the body.
A resistance band or a piece of Theraband can be used for helping to increase the range of motion in your toes. Simply place the band around your toe and apply resistance, you can also do some active work by resisting the band with your toe.
The Theraband foot roller had been a saviour for my feet. It's the one tool that's always by my bedside on the floor. I jump on it for a few minutes in the morning, or at night before bed, or you could do it while you brush your teeth. Whenever you fit it in, it feels great and is basically a foam roller for your feet. It helps to stretch and mobilize the plantar fascia and daily use can help to prevent plantar fasciitis and allow your foot to work as it was designed.
Just five minutes a day can make a world of difference for your prolonged running performance and for reducing your chance of injury. If you try just one of the tools above for just five minutes, you will notice an immediate difference in how your feet feel. Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Have a question you would like Antonio and I to answer please message us or comment below and we will do our best to answer it.
We preface our advice with the fact that neither of us are licensed health care professionals. We are two chaps who love to run sharing our experiences of what has worked for us.
Thanks so much
Have a great run today :)