You probably wouldn’t immediately link the two, but having a strong and healthy core plays a pivotal role in preventing foot and ankle injuries. This might be a novel concept to you, but it’s backed by biomechanics and science. But how does your core influence your feet? And what can you do to strengthen both parts of the body? Here’s what you need to know. 

What it means to have a healthy core  woman in plank position on pink yoga mat

By strengthening your core, you’re not just building up your abs and stomach. Rather, you’re also creating a stable base that helps to balance your entire body. And this balance can translate to less pressure on your feet, reducing the risk of injury

You may not realize it, but your core muscles play a crucial role in preventing foot and ankle injuries. These aren’t just your abs, but a collection of muscles that encompasses your entire trunk, providing stability and balance. In fact, a strong, healthy core can be your secret weapon in maintaining lower extremity health. 

But what are the major core muscles groups? And what is their importance in maintaining balance and stability? Well, your core comprises the abs, obliques, lower back and hips. These muscles work together to support posture, movement, and overall physical performance, making a strong core essential for preventing injuries. 

The true importance of core strength

But why is a strong, healthy core so critical, you may wonder? Well, it’s because these core muscles play a pivotal role in maintaining your body’s balance and stability, both of which are crucial in preventing foot and ankle injuries. A robust core can help you stand upright, move in all directions, and perform physical activities without losing your balance or straining your extremities. 

In short, core strength and foot strength have a direct relationship: a stable, strong core can thus help you prevent foot injuries. Conversely, if your core is weak, you’re more likely to suffer from foot and ankle issues. So, understanding the impact of a weak core on foot health, it’s clear that a lack of core strength can significantly increase the risk of foot and ankle injuries. 

A weak core undermines your balance, affecting the way your foot hits the ground. This can lead to sprains, strains and even fractures. That’s why bolstering your core is crucial for maintaining foot and ankle health. And here’s how you can do just that! 

Exercises to build a healthy core

Here are some specific exercises that can help fortify your core strength. These routines not only improve your balance and stability, but they can also play a significant role in reducing your risk for foot and ankle injuries like the ones we just reviewed above. 
First up? Try planks, bridges and Russian twists. 

To properly plank, follow these tips from Real Simple

1.    Press your forearms on the ground and lift your body up. Keep your palms clasped or touching the ground. 
2.    Make sure that the elbows are directly under the shoulders, then engage your back muscles by widening the shoulder blades.
3.    Squeeze your glutes to engage your quads, and hold for between 30 and 60 seconds. 

Not sure how to bridge? The Mayo Clinic advises lying on your back, knees bent, and tightening the muscles in your stomach. Now, raise hips off the floor until they’re in line with your knees and shoulders. Hold for three deep breaths.

Finally, to pull off a proper Russian twist, Healthline suggests elongating and straightening your spine at a 45-degree angle from the floor, creating a V shape with your torso and thighs. Reach your arms straight in front of you, interlacing your fingers or clasping hands together. Now, use your abdominals to twist right, center, left, center, and so on, repeating for time or reps.

These moves are great for building a healthy core. They work well because they target your full core—the abs, obliques and lower back—while helping improve your overall coordination. 

However, these moves alone are not enough. You must also include moves that target both the front and back of your core balance. Also remember, consistency is the key. Incorporating these exercises into your routine at least 2 or 3 times a week can significantly improve your core strength and stability. 

Not quite ready to dive headfirst into core workouts? Not a problem! You can gradually build up your workout intensity, for two benefits. First, this will help ease you into a new training program, making it more likely that you stick to this new commitment to physical fitness. And second, gradually increasing the intensity of any exercise program helps prevent injury and promotes new muscle growth. Remember, it’s not about speed; instead, it’s about slow and steady progress. Stay disciplined and you’ll strengthen your core, reducing your injury risk. 

Other tips for preventing foot and ankle injuries

Aside from building and maintaining a healthy core, selecting the right footwear can help protect your feet and ankle from pain and injury. (Check out our shoe-fitting guide here.) This step is critical because the right shoes can provide additional support and stability. 

You should also incorporate regular stretching exercises into your routine (focusing on dynamic over static stretches in order to truly reduce your injury risk.) Proper stretching can enhances both flexibility and strength, making movement less impactful on your lower extremities. 

Finally, here’s our most important tip for injury prevention: always listen to what your body is trying to tell you! If something hurts, it’s important to cease activity and seek professional guidance. If you’re experiencing pain, or even just discomfort, these are feelings you can’t ignore. They could be your body’s way of signaling that an issue is developing. And, in order to prevent serious injury, you need to heed that signal and reach out to our podiatrist in Houston, TX to request a consultation. When you come in to the office, we can advice and treatment options for your current concern. Plus, we can offer prevention strategies to keep you injury free in the future. 

Post A Comment