T Nation

Re-occuring foot problems

I have nagging feet problems that at times hinder my performance in my sport (somewhat equivalent to sprinting). I have had plantar fasciitis (excuse the spelling) that seemed to by corrected with orthotics and ART and I have had stress fractures on each foot. It seems that the stress fractures heal but a short time later I get them again in different spots on my feet. Are there any exercises thay I can do to help strengthen the structures (i.e. ligaments, tendons, small stabalizer muscles) within the foot. Are there any track athletes that have had similar problems with re-occuring foot injuries ?

Thanks in advance for the help.

Being that you’ve had nagging injuries and stress fractures on more then one occasion I would guess your diet would have something to do with this. Make sure you are getting enough total calories, and minerals…especially calcium. I know you are male but this is very common among female athletes. There is even a name for it, the female athletic triad. What happens in the case of a woman is they don’t eat enough or enough of the right things and along with strenuous exercise over time the hormonal system gets thrown out of whack causing premature osteoporosis. In your case you might just be overtraining and/or your diet might need adjustment. As far as some exercises for your feet oversized rubber bands can be a good tool as can balance boards. Another good one I have heard of is when you are sitting around the house watching TV or whatever try to pick things up with your toes. Also don’t neglect the tibialis anterior muscle on the front of your shin…(this is the muscle that contracts when you flex your toes towards your knee and is also responsible for absorbing a good deal of the impact when your foot hits the ground). You can work it with bands or by doing reverse calf raises with a leg curl machine.

I can empathize. Planter fasciitis is painful & frustrating. I have it right now. I’ve read that running bare foot on the beach really strengthens & stretches all the structures of the foot. Maybe your’e like me & live nowhere near the beach & this info is worthless. Doing calf raises without shoes is also supposed to work. Hope this helps.

I would recommend running barefoot on grass, not sand. Sand is either too soft or hard, if its packed, and either can cause you a great deal of stress and lead to injury. Running on grass provides the same benefits at less “cost”.

Also, if you should ever want to find a good shoe, take a look at the herseycustomshoe site. I’ve had a lot of foot problems in the past and this man’s shoes are nothing short of incredible. They are truly custom made. They aren’t cheap, but they are unlike any other shoes out there. Bart Hersey is the real thing and has been established among serious distance runners for many years. But he does other shoe types too and whatever he does, he does well and guarantees it. In any case, his site is really interesting and worth a visit. And, no, he ain’t my cousin and I’m not being paid! (darn)

All good suggestions. I have one more though. Try one legged squats. It might be hard to do full reps at first, but you can work up that point. With the foot your balancing on, imagine that you are trying to grip the ground. The first time I started doing these, I noticed that the muscles of my foot became sore the day after. This of course had never happened with any other exercise. The muscles in your foot with have to work to help balance your wait on a small base of support (your foot). Just my opinion and experience. You might also want to lay off the volume and intensity of squats and deads for awhile until the problem has been corrected.

I had similar problems I was able to get past them by taking two tennis balls. Placing one under each foot at night just before bed and rolling them under my feet from ball to heel several times while clenching my feet. This completely illeviated the phashitis? Good luck.

To strengthen your foot muscles, try Ian King’s first leg routine weeks 1-3 of Bring on the Pain series I. As for the plantar fasciitis, I have a client who is getting great results from ART therapy, but on another forum i’ve heard you could cure it at home. Just get a pipe or tube or even a rolling pin and while pointing your toes up to your shin, you would roll your foot back and forth on the rolling pin. This helps to break up scar tissue and stretches the tendon on the bottom of your foot. Try it for a few minutes each day and do it for a couple of weeks. This should help.

Lou, do you remember on what forum you learned about the plantar fasciitis home cure?