Dem bones, dem bones, den dancing bones; The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone, the leg bone’s connected to the knee bone, the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, Doin’ the skeleton dance.
When soft tissue issues crop up, it can be hard to tell where it is coming from. Most often this occurs in the lower leg and feet. You may have plantar fasciitis and then the worse that gets the more issues you have with your Achilles tendon and then your calf, perhaps your hamstrings. It could also be that you have tight hamstrings, which pull on your glutes or your knee or or calf, which then moves to your achilles and down to your toes.
For long time runners, it can be difficult to remember where it started. Was it upstream or downstream? who knows at this point. It can be very frustrating because you think you have one issue under control and then something else starts hurting.
Lower leg and foot issues are often exacerbated and even caused by weak hip and core issues. It’s all the kenetic chain effect. So how do you fix it? You have to work on it all at once because typically you can’t remember where it started and even if you know where the pain started that doesn’t mean that’s where the issue originated.
Core and hip stabilization and strength exercises are key to keeping your lower legs and feet happy. I’ve actually done a whole series of posts about strength training various parts of the body specific for running. If you are having an issue with a specific area, I recommend using that routine in conjunction with the Complete Strength Workout (all linked below). By doing that, you will repair and strengthen the area that is problematic and also prevent the injury from spreading and also prevent future injuries.
My other big big recommendation is foam rolling. I love foam rolling. I spend about 20 to 25 minutes every day foam rolling. Between the strength training and the foam rolling I have been able to prevent injuries and also to stop niggles from getting worse. I have linked my post about foam rolling below.
How do I know this is what is helping? because when I stop doing one or the other, it’s never at the same time, problems start to pop up and when I begin again, the problems go away. Yes I know that there is very mixed research on foam rolling. Research is great but personal experience is better.
I’m going to keep this post short because I really want you to click the links below and figure out which ones will help you. If you’re not having any issues currently I am strongly recommending that you look at both the Foam Rolling and the Complete Strength Workout.
Happy and Healthy Running!