When you hit the gym or get for a run, you lot probably don’t requite your anxiety much thought, bated from making sure your shoelaces are deeply tied. Matter is, your anxiety take a real chirapsia. “Almost active people take eight,000 to ten,000 steps a day, so even without working out, your feet practice a lot of work every day,” says podiatrist Paul Langer, D.P.K., president of the
American University of Podiatric Sports Medicine. And then how can you lot prevent common foot injuries from overuse such as plantar fascitis (an injury to the sole of the foot), tendonitis (tendon inflammation, normally of the Achilles tendon), metatarsalgia (pain in the metatarsals at the ball of the foot), and stress fractures (breaks to the bone caused from repetitive pounding)? Hither’s how.

Don’t Skip Your Warm-up

“Immediate foot injuries can be prevented or decreased past a proper warm-upwardly,” says podiatrist L. Kelsey Armstrong, D.P.Thou., who’due south also an NSCA-certified force and conditioning specialist. “A warm-up should consist of general exercises and progress to specific exercises for the activity.” For instance, he suggests a tennis player get-go with a jog and arm swings and so progress to frontward lunges and lateral lunges, side shuffles, and brusk sprints—forward, backward, lateral.

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Build Your Muscles

Strong anxiety begin with a strong y’all, says Armstrong. “I believe in strengthening muscles to allow the unabridged body to withstand the stress of exercise,” he says. “The exercises I usually prescribe are based on the premise that the entire lower extremity, not simply the foot, is involved in any activity.” In particular, he cites the squat, which works the gluteal muscles and hip flexors, and the deadlift, which strengthens all the muscles in the back of the leg, including the lower brawl of the foot.

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For human foot-specific piece of work, both Armstrong and Langer recommend the Janda “short foot” do, in which you activate the muscles in the human foot’due south arch to pull the large toe articulation in toward the heel without curling the toes. “I typically recommend doing one rep, holding it for 2 to four seconds and so repeating it 10 times once a 24-hour interval,” says Langer. Heel drops (in which yous stand up on a small-scale ledge and lower the heels downwards, then press back to level), and toe raises (in which you push upwardly onto the balls of the feet, Barbie-way, and slowly lower downward) increase strength and flexibility of the dogie muscles and Achilles tendon, which control and back up the feet—do three sets of 15 reps of each exercise daily. Finally, a great motility for both human foot and ankle stability is to stand barefoot on one foot for threescore seconds at a time, working upwards to three to four minutes.

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Requite ‘Em a Good Stretch

Pes flexibility is just as important as forcefulness. And the cool part is that a number of the stretches feel similar a massage. Plantar fascia stretching, done seated in a chair, involves grasping the toes in ane hand and pulling them up and back until a stretch is felt in the arch and/or heel. Agree information technology for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times. Another proficient way to ease tootsie tension: “Rolling a golf/tennis brawl on the bottom of the feet daily helps stretch out the small muscles of the feet, along with the plantar fascia,” says Armstrong.

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Change It Upwardly

What you clothing on your feet is too relevant for good human foot health. “In an able-bodied shoe, you lot are looking for one with a stiff heel counter—with a wide base for activities that have lateral movement—and a potent midsole that resists torsion and flexion,” says Armstrong. In other words, the shoe shouldn’t easily fold in half toe to heel or twist side to side. Langer also suggests adding some options to your sneaker inventory (hello, excuse to become shopping!) and to your workouts (discover fun options here). “If you vesture the same shoes, insoles, or exercise the aforementioned activities day afterwards day, you are at increased hazard for overuse injuries due to repetition,” he says. Having a variety of comfortable footwear
and
doing a variety of fitness activities are important.” Finally, it kind of goes without maxim: Lay off the high heels when yous tin can, particularly if your dogs are barkin’ from a long run or strenuous boot camp session. (You lot need to do
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shopping for a spare pair of flats to keep in your bag? Washed.)

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Amy Roberts is a certified personal trainer.