Running is a ground contact sport. The foot sustains seven times the body weight while running and up to twenty times in jumping sports. The foot is involved in both the landing and push-off while running, absorbing the shock of impact upon landing, then controlling the force used during push-off. This micro trauma, repeated thousands of times, is a leading cause of injury. The repeated impact on a stiff and inflexible foot can lead to a tibial stress fracture. Conversely an unstable or wobbly foot can lead to knee injury.
Running form and how the foot lands can also be a major cause of foot injury. The majority of runners are heel strikers, believing proper form is to run heel-toe. This inefficient heel-first landing actually produces a braking effect, creating more impact with each step and slowing forward momentum.
Besides being inefficient a heel strike running form can lead to runner’s knee, shin splints, and stress fractures. Runner’s knee includes any injury that affects the knee as a result of running, and more often than not is a result of injury to a nerve or muscle. Shin splints and stress fractures are bone injuries, which arise when soft tissues, namely muscles, fail to adequately protect the bones.
By strengthening the foot you make each foot strike more stable, reducing foot wobble and preventing overuse injury.
Foot drills will also make you faster. Foot wobble is actually a lateral side to side motion. Speed is generated straight ahead. If there is wobble on each foot strike – a lateral motion before there is forward motion – time is lost. If ground contact time can be reduced 1/100th of a second the cumulative effect will improve performance. In a mile this reduced ground contact time translates to an 8-10 second difference and in the 10K it means 50-60 seconds. A substantial improvement, one step at a time.
Perform drills barefoot for 25 meters on a flat surface, preferably grass. Total time to do drills is about 3 minutes.
Consistent use of the foot drills will diminish or abate shin splints, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis and knee problems.
Results will be subtle but noticeable in 2-3 weeks – decrease in injuries, improved cornering, improved jumping ability.
Rest and ice are essential first treatments for injuries. Additional remedies include heat, stretching, and anti-inflammatory medications, all of which can help recovery, but none offer a permanent solution or prevent future injury.
The best way to permanently treat foot injuries is through Active Release Technique or Graston Technique. These soft tissue therapies alleviate nerve entrapment, alleviating pain and restoring muscle function. ART and GT are highly effective at retraining and realigning muscle fibers, helping them to better support the bones and joints they serve.
Active Release Technique® (ART) is very successful in treating foot injury. A trained ART® specialist locates the specific tissues that are restricted and physically works them back to normal texture, tension, and length by using various soft tissue manipulation methods. Active Release Technique® and Graston Technique® speed the healing process by restoring the connective tissues and muscles back to healthy and functional levels, giving you increased strength and mobility which leads to improved performance.
Jonas Chiropractic Sports Injury Care utilizes the 3D Body View scan to determine the stability index in an athlete. If indicated, custom fit orthotics can be designed based upon the stability index. A highly successful treatment protocol is a combination of precise orthotics with Active Release Technique, Graston Technique and Cold Laser Treatment to treat foot pain and injury.
The techniques and therapy provided by Jonas Chiropractic Sports Injury Care are natural and non-invasive and have successfully helped many athletes come back faster from injury.
By Dr. Jon DeGorter, DC, Jonas Chiropractic