We are trained to think that exercise in any shape or form is productive and beneficial to our health. For the most part this is true, and we should applaud ourselves for getting off the couch and making an effort; however, not all exercises are created equally and some that are done improperly can cause unnecessary injury or make current ailments worse.
In general, look out for any exercises that require sudden or unnatural movement, make you feel any pain or discomfort, or force you to stretch your feet or ankles beyond what they can handle. A few other things to watch out for are:
- Any exercise involving the use of ankle weights – You may believe that adding a little more weight can boost the effects of your workout and strengthen or tone your muscles faster, but for the majority of people, weights end up putting extra stress and pressure on your knees and ankles.
- Box Jumps – Box jumps are done by jumping from the floor to the top edge of a box about a foot high. These can be great if done properly, but if you’re landing too hard or being sloppy with form you can risk injuring your Achilles tendon. If you must do the box jump, make sure that you’re concentrating on your landing and being light on your feet to avoid putting unnecessary stress on your feet and ankles.
- Jogging – It’s not running, and it’s not walking. This means that unlike running, you’re spending more time per step on each foot and your foot and ankle absorbs more impact for every step. Studies say that it’s about three times the impact of power walking at a similar pace. It also takes more time to burn calories when jogging compared to running which means you’re physically wearing out your feet and ankles more. Continuous, repeated jogging can lead to bunions, blisters, plantar fasciitis, and over-pronation. If you’ve been jogging for a while, it might be time to try out a power walking routine. It’s better for your feet and ankles as well as many other parts of your body.
Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm, of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center, has been treating patients for over 17 years. He is board-certified in foot surgery and reconstructive rear foot and ankle surgery. If you have any questions or podiatric concerns, call our Centreville, VA office at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.