With running and cycling, our feet are usually encased in shoes. These protective coverings are great in keeping us from stepping on dog poop or broken glass. They help absorb shock or transfer power to the pedals.
The problem with this is that the human foot is more intricate than a stiff plank at the end of your leg. There are 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments from your ankle to your toes on just one side. Think about this. There are about 25% of all the bones in your body in both ankles to toes. This allows a lot of the subtle movement to take place that allows us to stand on two feet. With running, it becomes one leg transfers.
I’m not trying to advocate barefoot-only running, but point out that we need to take some time to work on our feet. They are our wheels. But unlike wheels, they need to change shape as we move. Foot mobility, stability and strength take work and even more so in our shod society.
One of the beginning exercises we do for rehab for runners and cyclists is the “short-foot” exercise. It involved building up your foot arch without curling your toes. The second exercise we often go to is the “single leg standing crossover” it works your base foot while the body transfers weight with the other leg.
Both of these exercises are illustrated quite well in a video linked on our facebook page:
You might want to incorporate a day or two during the week to work on barefoot strides (short bursts of quick running). This is best done on grass or synthetic turf that is predictable, plush and free of any debris or holes. This gives the foot a chance to mobilize and strengthen.
Here’s to keeping the feet healthy in many more adventures!
Dr. Mike Van Antwerp
Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Sports Chiropractor
ZOVA Therapeutic Bodywork
• Vladimir Janda, MD for the short foot exercise.
• Gary Gray, PT for the inspiration for single leg standing crossover exercise.
• Jason Fitzgerald at Strength Running for how to safely integrate barefoot running.
• John Keefe, IV, DC for doing a great video on foot exercises for ZOVA. https://www.youtube.com/user/ZOVAbody/videos
Disclaimer: Remember to always check with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program. These exercises might not be for you and are only given as information.
Share this post: