My ankle/foot hurts only when I run or jump...

foot and ankle Jun 03, 2021

Running or jumping injuries. Accidents and injuries happen. How can we recover from them so they don't become a lingering issue or something that prevents you from doing the activities or sports you love? 

We hear this often from clients:

“The bottom of my foot only hurts when I run" 


"My achilles hurts only when I jump. Otherwise, all of the other exercises I do don’t bother me.” 

These are movement related. 

You might hear common diagnoses:

Achilles tendonitis

Plantar Fasciitis

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (aka shin splints)

The above aren’t as scary as they seem. There is something you can do about it! 

We look at the following to see which areas need to be addressed when assessing a movement related problem.

  1. Technique
  2. Load Management
  3. Range of motion in the joint (multiple joints)
  4. Tissue quality
  5. Nutrition/Hydration

1. Technique

Running and jumping are skills. Running and landing mechanics are things to practice. There are many drills, techniques to optimize how one lands and slows down motion. 

Running: where your foot lands can place certain stresses on joints and muscles

Heel strike, mid foot strike, forefoot strike. It truly depends on the distances you run and what the purpose of your training. 

2. Load Mangement

In your current training program, have you prepared for the volume of running and jumping? If you just started running, did you start by running 3 miles? Or maybe you took time off of running (3 months) and once you started running again, the pain came back immediately. If that is the case, the problem was not actually addressed. 

3. Range of motion in the joint

In this article, we addressed the mobility and joints of the foot. Tight ankle joints can affect how the ankle moves causing some of the surrounding muscles (the calves: gastrocnemius and soleus) to have to work a little harder to move it forward and backward. Additionally, if the position or range of motion is restricted in the joint, the muscles on the sides (the inside and outside) (lateral shin muscles: fibularis longus/brevis) or the medial shin muscles:posterior tibialis/flexor digitorum longus/flexor hallucis longus) must be recruited to create stability or the motion. These muscles on the side help control the muscles of the feet and ankle moving the ankle inward and outward. If these muscles are stiff, it can increase the wear and tear of other tissues.

4. Tissue Quality

Muscles and fascia need to slide over the top of each other. If they are stiff, it is like driving with the parking brake on. Grab a lacrosse ball or foam roller to add some compression and help mobilize those tissues! 

5. Nutrition and Hydration

Ever get cramping in your calves during a workout or game? Electrolytes are important. The most popular are potassium, however, salt is also an underrated mineral that must be ingested to balance the natural sodium and potassium channels at a cellular level. Salt has been demonized, but a little salt in your water or in your diet can go a long way! 

Looking for ways to maximize your recovery?

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