Runners use large muscles in the legs and hips to forcefully propel the body forward with one leg and land on the other leg to move quickly overground. Without adequate stabilization by deep hip and ankle muscles, the body relies more readily on passive structures for lateral support during this process, such as ligaments and tendons. Overuse of these passive structures by repetitive stress leads to most common running injuries including: achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, runners knee, and iliotibial band syndrome. 

by Kristina Pattison, DPT, CSCS

Featured image by Ben Herndon Photography of Kristina Pattison running Lolo Peak, Montana. 

Keys to decreasing risk for running injuries include gradually progressing running volume to prepare these tissues for stress, and to consistently strengthen the active stabilizer muscles supporting these passive structures. Here are 4 quick moves that will keep the ankles and hips strong and stable, ensuring decreased risk for injury and improved running speed.

1) ANKLE PLANTAR FLEXION/DORSIFLEXION WITH LATERAL RESISTANCE

With a resistance band anchored on a stable object, place the looped end around the forefoot. Keep the foot pointed straight forward and move foot up and down.

2_L DF ABD 3_L PF ABD

Repeat on opposite foot, then face the opposite direction and repeat.

9_R DF ADD 10_R PF ADD

2) ANKLE INVERSION/EVERSION WITH LATERAL RESISTANCE

Keeping the shin still, move foot in and out to work muscles on the side of the shins.

4_L INV ABD 5_L EVE ABD

Repeat on opposite foot, then face the opposite direction and repeat.

12_R EVE ADD 11_R INV ADD

3) SIDE KICKS WITH LATERAL ANKLE AND HIP RESISTANCE

Keeping the leg straight and foot pointed straight forward, move the whole leg in and out to work the hips.

6_L ABD 7_L ABD2

Repeat on both sides, then face the opposite direction and repeat.

13_R ADD 14_R ADD2

4) HEEL RAISES WITH KNEE STRAIGHT AND BENT

Keeping the leg straight raise up onto the ball of the foot.

32_R PF Knee EXT 33_R PF Knee FLEX

 Repeat with knee bent. Then repeat on the opposite side.

34_L PF Knee EXT 35_L PF Knee FLEX

**FIND VIDEOS OF THESE EXERCISES AND MORE BY KRISTINA PATTISON, DPT, CSCS AT MISSOULA BONE AND JOINT PHYSICAL THERAPY ON YOUTUBE** kristina-2-bw

Kristina Pattison is a professional ultra endurance mountain runner from Missoula, Montana. She works as a doctor of physical therapy and certified strength and conditioning specialist at Missoula Bone and Joint Physical Therapy. Kristina specializes in rehabilitation of athletes and runners, and optimizing function through improved mechanics. For more information on coaching please visit the contact page.

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