For many sports activities the one thing that you fear are injuries. Anything that prevents you from doing your sport can be very frustrating. Also it can have effects on your body which then mean further injury is more likely.
It’s an obvious thing but preventing injuries in the first place is SO important!
Injury prevention is about putting things in place to stop the injury occurring, be that good running shoes, prescribed orthotics, good warm up / down exercise regimes and training programs that build your stability and strength.
One of the most important and often overlooked areas is stretching. Stretching the calf muscles is particularly important for good foot function. The calf muscles have an extremely important effect on gait and when they are tight they make your feet compensate in a way that can cause injury.
Your feet are the platform of your body to the ground and therefore a key element in preventing injury in the foot, leg and further up into the spine.
To do a simple exercise which stretches your calf muscles can really help give more ankle movement and result in less compensation occurring in the foot when running and then of course less injuries.
The Calf Stretch
Simply stand on a step (hold onto a rail or wall close by), with the ball of your foot on the step and the heel area off it. Then drop the heel down with your body weight until you feel the calf go tight. Wait for a count of 15 seconds and then lift, again repeat this after a few seconds until you have done 10 of these repetitions, doing this once a day if you are involved in sport can really help prevent those irritating injuries and help keep you doing your sport.
Of course there are other ways of doing this stretch but this is a very simple and a great way to start.
If you are experiencing recurrent injuries you may benefit more from a biomechanical assessment to give more specific advice and look at your gait in more detail. Functional insoles / orthotics are often given to give more stability and help the feet function better. Sometimes a course of foot mobilisation treatment will really help as well!