The effects of plantar short foot muscles exercises on long-distance runners


“The foot core system. The neural, active and passive subsystems interact to produce the foot core system which provides stability and flexibility to cope with changing foot demands.” (McKeon 2015)

Micro Post on Foot Muscles

Intrinsic foot muscles play a crucial role in supporting the medial longitudinal arch, providing the foot stability and flexibility for shock absorption. (for an introduction of related concepts see McKeon et al. 2015)

Practical implications of this is that when intrinsic foot muscles fatigue, runners may move more easily into the pronated position. This excessive pronation, may cause overloading of the knee joint or may be the cause of other changes in proximal part of the lower extremity. (Sulowska et al. 2016)

Therapists treating long distance runners may want to look into training programs for the intrinsic foot muscles. By performing intrinsic foot exercises athletes may improve the quality of their movement patterns, and thus, may reduce the risk of injury. 

I will work more on developing foot programs in the following months, I just wanted to highlight a couple papers to provide a breif introduction to the foot muscles.

More to Explore

Blazevich, A.J., Cannavan, D., Waugh, C.M., Miller, S.C., Thorlund, J.B., Aagaard, P., Kay, A.D. (2014). Range of motion, neuromechanical, and architectural adaptations to plantar flexor stretch training in humans. J Appl Physiol.

Bolívar YA, Munuera PV, Padillo JP. (2013). Relationship between tightness of the posterior muscles of the lower limb and plantar fasciitis. Foot Ankle Int.

McKeon, P.O., Hertel, J., Bramble, D., & Davis, I. (2015) The foot core system: a new paradigm for understanding intrinsic foot muscle function. Br J Sports Med

Sulowska, I., Oleksy, Ł, Mika, A., Bylina, D., & Sołtan, J. (2016). The Influence of Plantar Short Foot Muscle Exercises on Foot Posture and Fundamental Movement Patterns in Long-Distance Runners, a Non-Randomized, Non-Blinded Clinical Trial. PLoS ONE. (Open Access)