In keeping with the foot theme from yesterday, I have another question… how flexible are your ankles?
Back when I ran myself to the injured list for 5 1/2 weeks, I went to a sports massage therapist who told me my ankles were very inflexible. I took this quite offensively because I’ve always been proud of my flexibility. But truth be told, I think he was right :).
Ankle flexibility is important, especially for runners. And tight ankles can lead to quite a few aches and pains, including calf injuries. Yup, I’ve had that injury…
Tight joints, including your ankles, make it difficult to maintain correct form while you run. Ankles with a limited range of motion also predispose you to tight calf muscles as they are the major muscles acting on your ankles. This condition can hurt your running performance by causing further injury, rendering you out of commission from your training. Stretches for the muscles acting on your ankles stretch your ankles.
But no need to worry. While you’re working on spreading those toes, you can also improve your ankle flexibility. You can read about wall-and-toes, runner’s calf stretch, tibialis stretch, and lateral stretch here. Or if you’re more interested in a few yoga poses to help your ankles, check out this article. This article also has a few basic ankle stretches.
I love how a sport that can seem so simple, can be so much more complex. When I first started running many years ago, I never though my toes, ankles, back muscles, or hips would play such an important role. I’m glad I’m finally starting to figure it all out (or at least some of it).
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Running Update: Yea, I said I wasn’t going to run today but I did anyway. The thought of being inside on such a beautiful day did not seem appealing. I was feeling fine so I went for an easy 5 1/2 miles. It was around 85 degrees here in NC and I must say, running in the heat isn’t as much fun as running in the cold. Garmin stats are here and I love that I’m making new friends on Garmin Connect! Tomorrow is a functional fitness and strength training day.