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Our Top Tip For Stability

photo of a group of runners standing on one leg

An easy way to build strength in your feet and ankles

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It’s a fact that, every year, most runners pick up an injury at some point. The range of injuries is pretty wide, but there’s a common thread that runs between them. And a simple way that you can go some way towards reducing the chance of injury.

Quite simply, if you exclude "trauma injuries" such as those you get from a fall, many problems are the result of a misalignment or imbalance somewhere. There’s a "chain" that runs all the way from the hips, through the knees and lower legs to the ankles and feet. Just because you have a pain in one place doesn’t mean that’s the problem. It’s often the case that a pain in, say, the knee is actually caused by a weakness elsewhere (e.g. the quads).

A simple way to strengthen your whole structure

Almost every coach will give you sensible advice on your "running form" – how you hold yourself while you run. A good posture will use less energy than one where you slouch. However, a less glamorous goal of coaching is injury prevention, so it can often be ignored. Yet there’s one simple but effective thing you can do to build up the strength of your muscles and tendons – all the way from your toes to your hips.

What is it?

Stand on one leg.

That’s it! Nothing more complicated than that.

Try it right now. Take off your shoes, stand up, and pay attention to the sensations you feel in your ankle. I bet it’s wobbling in all directions! It’s working hard just keeping you upright. But although you feel it in your ankle, your shins, calves, knees, quads, hamstrings, glutes – even the ball of your foot and your big toe – are all working overtime.

The more you do this routine, the stronger you become. The stronger you become, the less likely you are to over-stretch and get tissue damage. And that in turn leads to fewer injuries.

graphic showing the main muscles in the front of the lower leg

“Strong feet & ankles will minimise the risk of injury”