There are many causes of foot and ankle pain, both biomechanical and due to injury. The pain may build up over time until it becomes a barrier to running and exercising, or it may begin after a sharp sprain to the ankle. Either way, generally speaking, the foot and lower leg musculature will benefit from stretching and strengthening.
Here are some very easy exercises that when performed consistently, will contribute to stronger foot and ankle strenght, and better running mechanics.
Sit in a chair with feet planted on a towel over a hard surface. Scrunch toes in and hold for 5 seconds. Releax and repeat 10x, perform 3 sets per day.
Heel Raise, Turned In
Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, turn your feet and knees in from the hip so that toes point inwards. Raise up onto the balls of your feet then lower down with control. Perform 10 repetitions for 3 sets.
Heel Raise in Parallel
Stand with feet shoulder wideth apart, feet pointed forward, and raise up onto the balls of your feet. Repeat 10x for 3 sets.
Heel Raise Turned Out
Stand with feet shoulder width apart, and turn feet and knees out from the hip. Raise up onto the balls of your feet, then lower back down with control. Repeat 10x for 3 sets.
Extend your leg straight out in front of you, and draw the ball of your foot in towards the ceiling using a towel. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat for 3 sets on each leg.
If foot or ankle pain persists, be sure to see a physical therapist who will identify areas needing to be addressed, and utilize various techniques to restore optimal function throughout the leg.
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