Foot problems. Ankle problems. Lower leg problems. Knee problems. IT band problems. Hip problems. So many issues that occur with running that seem to take forever to go away. It does not have to be that way, but when issues do not get treated properly, issues do not go away. Simple as that.
Let’s dive into some things that might be missing in your plan.
What position are you doing your exercises in? All too often I talk to athletes who are doing exercise, but many of their exercises are being done in a lying down or seated position. Last I checked, we walk and run standing up. So why the heck are you doing everything lying down!?!?! OK, if you recently had surgery then you get a pass on that, as the lying down exercises are probably a good place to start. But if you have not, it’s time to get you up in kneeling or standing positions.
The body learns by ‘doing.’ If all you are doing are things lying down, such as leg lifts, clamshells, and bridges, there is no carryover to your actual daily activities. The body does not know how to translate a lying down activity to a standing activity. You may feel the glutes burning and have great strength when lying down, but once you stand up everything changes because you have not taught your body how to be strong in that position.
Related to that, you also need to train the body to be strong in its functional patterns. It is great that you can do double leg and single leg tasks with good strength, but what happens when you go to run. Does your body know how to control the dynamic loading under speed? Does your body know how to bring the swing leg through efficiently? If you have not done things to train that, then the answer is no! Just because you taught it to be strong when standing up does not automatically mean it knows how to be strong and stable when running. You have to teach it!
Control your foot!
The foot matters so much more than you think. When you lack control of the foot, it not only creates foot and ankle issues, but also contributes to issues in the lower leg, knee, IT band, and hip. Yep, nearly all injuries can be contributed to lack of control in your foot. Your foot is your foundation. If it is not stable or lacks good control, the rest of the body will lack control as well, resulting in injuries. (And no, using an orthotic to control the foot does not solve this problem. In fact, it makes it worse!)
Oh, and I cannot leave out the fact that activation of the foot also assists in activation of the hip, pelvic floor, and diaphragm. What does this mean for you? Three things: 1) If you have been told your glutes do not fire, the foot could be the reason, 2) If you have issues with leaking when running or jumping, a weak foot could be a contributing factor, and 3) If you want to breath better, learn to use the foot better.
Control your body!
Now that you know what you need to do – standing exercises and learning to use your foot – it is also important to bring up the how your body is moving. Your body has had decades to create improper movement patterns. These movement patterns have been helping you do all the tasks you need to do on a daily basis, but they haven’t been serving you in helping you be a strong and powerful human.
The body is great at learning how to move around its mobility and strength limitations. That gets you by for a while, but eventually the body gets fed and up creates pain, which is where you are at now. Anyone can do a squat. But doing a squat with a movement pattern that is efficient and creates the most power through proper muscle activation is completely different than doing an inefficient squat with all the smaller muscle groups and placing more stress on your joints.
The problem now is that retraining your body to move differently is extremely hard! It takes time, consistent work, and working with someone who has an eye to pick up the subtle movement faults that happen.
Working with someone to help teach you how to gain more control over your body is essential to breaking out of the injury cycle you are stuck in. Not sure where to turn? I would love to help you. Schedule a FREE Discovery Call with Brianne to figure out your next steps!
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