I have a client who loves running. It is her raison d’être! So when she started having pain this past winter on the lateral superior part of her foot she became worried. She took several days off and iced; but, the pain did not seem to go away. In fact, it was so painful when she ran a week later that she thought it could be a stress fracture. After I told her this was highly common and typical for runners to experience this when changing running terrain she had a huge sense of relief. In Ottawa, Canada it snows a lot in the winter. Runners accustomed to smooth surfaces (i.e. sidewalk, bike path, road) a.k.a. summer running, can experience problems when going on uneven terrain (i.e. running in the snow and ice, trail running, mud running).
The lower legs has two muscles running down the lateral sides, the peroneal muscles: longus and brevis. The brevis is directly under the longus and both simultaneously act to evert the foot and assist to plantar flex (point) the ankle. The peroneal muscles are seriously overtaxed when running on uneven terrain (i.e. snow, ice, mud, rocks, roots) because each foot strike goes through eversion to accommodate the terrain and make sure the foot remains stable and proprioceptive.
If you were to run for 3 miles, you are striking your foot to the ground approximately 5000 times, creating repetitive mechanical trauma. Many people cannot keep up with the massive amounts of eversion in the feet because their calves and peroneal muscles are not strong enough. A simple way to alleviate the problem is to stretch them out and strengthen them with YTU exercises.
Here are some YTU stretches: The calf stretch against the wall while internally rotating you back foot to create more of a stretch in the peroneals shown in the clip below and on the Quick Fix for Feet and Ankles video. 2. Dandasana everting and inverting the foot; but, pay special attention to the inversion, you can even hold your foot in inversion for a few seconds for more stretch. 3. YTU ball rolling on the plantar fascia where both the peroneals insert, mid-arch, in addition to rolling on your lower legs, calf and shins.
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