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Common running injuries and how to avoid them part 2

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The major muscles that control ankle rotation are on the front of the shin and in and around the calf. To improve the capacity of these muscles to contract, lengthen and relax effectively during running, massage them using a foam roller or tennis ball, and then try the following rotation exercises :

  • Place toes of one foot up against base of wall or half foam roller.
  • Gently bend ankle forward and rotate it toward midline of body.
  • Make sure outside of foot, ball of foot and heel do not come off ground.
  • Return to start position.
  • Perform 8–10 repetitions, each side.

Heel–To–Toe Rocking –

This exercise is to help strengthen the ankle (and the parts above it) at a speed that mimics real–life movements.

  • Assume staggered stance, right foot back, hands placed on wall for balance.
  • Point feet forward, and transfer weight forward into left leg while raising right heel and rolling/rotating right ankle out.
  • Keep toes of right foot in contact with ground.
  • Lower right heel back to ground as right ankle rolls inward and foot flattens.
  • Repeat, rotating ankle “up and out” and “down and in.” Slowly increase speed.
  • Perform 10–15 repetitions, each side.

Hip and torso rotation – the major muscles that control hip and torso rotation come together at the pelvis. Use a foam roller to massage the major muscles of the hips and trunk before performing the following exercises. I love these!

Glute stretch with rotation –

  • Sit on floor with one leg straight. Cross opposite leg over straight leg, and place foot on floor.
  • Pull bent knee toward chest with opposite arm and rotate toward bent leg to stretch glutes and muscles that wrap around torso.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, each side.

Hip flexor stretch with rotation

  • Kneel on right knee, left foot forward.
  • Tilt pelvis under.
  • Rotate torso over left leg. Do not let pelvis move as you rotate.
  • Hold stretched position for 2–3 seconds.
  • Return to start, and repeat.
  • Perform 6–8 repetitions, each side.

Hamstrings stretch with rotation

  • Place right leg on bench or chair.
  • Keep leg straight, both feet aligned facing forward.
  • Keep pelvis ‘square’ to the front.
  • Rotate torso over right leg without bending spine to side.
  • Hold stretched position for 2–3 seconds.
  • Return to start, and repeat.
  • Perform 6–8 repetitions, each leg.

Adductor stretch with rotation – 

  • Stand with feet about 2 feet apart.
  • Gently bend right knee, transfer weight into right leg, pushing hips back a little and rotate torso over right hip.
  • Keep left leg and foot straight and in contact with ground.
  • Hold stretched position for 2–3 seconds.
  • Return to start, and repeat.
  • Perform 6–8 repetitions, each leg.

Good luck with your rotation routine and avoid those nasty injuries!

Lisa :)

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