Happy New Year, Happy Feet!

We’re nearly two months into the New Year and the time for resolutions with the age old one of “getting fitter” or shedding Christmas “excess”. Not so easy when the Gyms are still closed from Lockdown 3 and alongside the  soaring demand for dogs, there’s an International shortage of Treadmills! This will invariably have left folks digging out of running trainers and heading out into the parks or onto the pavements.

So I wrote with a note of caution for any potential Sir Mo Farrah’s or Zola Budd’s, carefully avoiding the aforementioned dogs and their increasing deposits (especially if bare foot running!), to look after those Feet of yours.

There are several common Foot and Ankle injuries which are referred to the SAS Physiotherapy Service for management, including Calf injuries, Achilles tendinitis, Plantar fasciitis, Shin splints (Posterior Tibialis tendonitis) Big toe / fore-foot pain and less common but very debilitating, stress fractures of the meta-tarsal bones.

The Common causes of injury will include;

Disuse or weakness from having not exercised, when muscle mass and strength is lost and this leaves them more prone to injury.

Overuse, due to sudden changes in exercise regime or routine, especially if go too quickly into longer periods of running / endurance exercise. Aim to only increase your running mileage by 10% per week or run.

Not warming up prior to exercise or cooling down properly can leave the body less prepared for the activity and to a longer recovery time afterwards.

And finally Fatigue, as when muscles not used to endurance exercise tire, they become more injury prone.

In most people, when you are walking or running the first point of contact with the ground is the heel, then your body weight rolls down the outer aspect of the foot and the last body part is to leave the ground is through a “push off” from the great toe. All that force is absorbed through your calf muscles and then they help propel you forwards, so injuries here are common.

Running technique will also be a factor. Heel strikers are increasing the load through the Calves but changing to a more mid foot or forefoot runner whilst lowering the impact on the calf takes some practice.

Some people are “over pronators” where the foot rolls excessively inwards when running (very common), others are “supinators” (foot rolls outwards) or others are more naturally “toe runners”.

With that in mind check your Footwear is appropriate for the activity and much better to spend your money on the correct trainer or footwear to protect the feet and ankle than on fancy designer running pants! If necessary have a “gait analysis” when buying the next pair, as decent trainers will hold your foot / ankle in a better postural position and absorb the contact of foot to floor. Think about where you will be running, on pavement or off road / trails and choose footwear accordingly.

A typical example of an Overuse calf injury was helped recently by the Physiotherapy Service. The Client is a 50 year old, keen cyclist, but took up Running having not run for 5 years. Went from not running to 7km, then to 15km in 2 weeks.  In Week 1 pulled Left calf and Week 2 pulled Right calf. Contacted SAS and advice given on a series of calf stretches and strengthening work to help the legs cope with the sudden “new demands” on them. Also advised at length re training regime and gradual increase in distance at 10% per run, not 100% further!

Responded extremely well with-out injury by curbing over enthusiastic approach to the resumption of running and is managing the program outlined very well

At Schools Advisory Service we are proud to offer Physiotherapy management for the range of common conditions outlined and Clients also benefit from access to the SAS In-house Personal Trainer, Ed. Click here to learn more about fitness and nutrition support available through Ask Ed with SAS.

Please contact the SAS Wellbeing Team on 01773 814 403 or use the click here to download the SAS Wellbeing app for further details and to access support.


SAS Physiotherapist