Barefoot Running Injury Prevention; Foot and Ankle Strengthening Exercises

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Barefoot Running Injury Prevention; Foot and Ankle Strengthening Exercises

Building strong ankles and feet is paramount in switching to barefoot running injury free. This exercise routine will help build and maintain strength throughout your foot and ankle and lower your chance for injury.

Do these exercises without shoes, with 3 to 4 sets of each exercise, increasing the repetitions or time as often as you can. Focus on form and range of motion.


Agility Dots:
Hop with both feet (or on a single leg, to make the exercise harder) in an “x “ pattern on the floor with the corners of the “x” about one foot apart. Move quickly in an hourglass pattern around the “x” in one direction, then switch directions and repeat the motion. One revolution around is one repetition. Start with 4 in each direction (and on each leg if doing single leg) and increase from there.


Single Leg Calf Raises
Using a step, try and balance on one leg while doing a calf raise. If it is too difficult to do on just one leg, then start out using both feet until your balance increases. Stand close to a wall or railing for support. Start with 6 repetitions and increase from there.


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Shin Curls
Using a step, stand with toes hanging off the edge as much as is comfortable, then curl your toes and foot up as high as you can without rocking backwards. Stand close to a wall or railing for support. Start with 6 repetitions and increase from there.


Toe Walks
Come up and balance on your toes as high as you can and walk forward and backward for a set amount of time in each direction. Start with 30 seconds in each direction and increase time from there.


Heel Walks
Rock back and balance on your heels as high as you can and walk forward and backward for a set amount of time in each direction. Start with 30 seconds in each direction and increase time from there.


Foot Rolls
Roll both of your feet out to the outside edge, as far as is comfortable, then rock them back in to the inside as much as you can (the rock towards the inside will feel like a very limited range of motion). In and out is one repetition, start with 6 and increase from there.


Side Shuffles
Keeping on your toes, quickly side step to the left for 4-5 steps, then move back to the right to the starting position. Out and back is one repetition. Start with 4 reps of the exercise and increase from there.


Single Leg Balances
Balancing on one leg, hold your balance for a set time period, then switch legs and repeat the motion. Use a seat cushion, Airex Balance Pad, or balance disc to increase difficulty of this balance exercise. Start with 30 seconds and increase from there.