Recap and Discussion
Core Muscles and Feet
Some of the members of our training group have experienced issues with knee and lower back pain. While some of these issues might reflect long-term damage to cartilage and/or tendons, there are things you can do to alleviate the pain. In many cases you can also help fix the causes of the pain. According to physical therapists, core strength and endurance training is key. Remember, your muscles are designed to hold you bones in place and to make them move. You have hundreds of skeletal muscles, 640 by one way of counting, and each of them is important.
These are the muscles generally considered part of the core musculature: there are several hip flexor muscles, 3 different gluteus muscles, 4 different abdominal muscles, adductors and abductors, and several spine erector muscles. Often, with our sedentary lifestyle, or because of past injury, one or more of these muscles stops firing or becomes inactive. A common example is when a person spends most of their day sitting in a chair; they might develop a lazy gluteus minimus or medius. See this article for more specific information.
What to do about lazy glutes?
We may get in the habit of running with bad form, not using some of those core muscles the way they were designed to be used. The key is to do exercises that reactivate and strengthen those muscles that are weak in the core. And then we have to observe our running form to see if we are improving. We talked a little about one aspect of running form: foot strike. It is generally better not to land on the heels of your feet but more toward the ball or mid-foot. That means you will have to also do exercises focused on strengthening the arch of your foot. Of course to analyze your running form effectively, you really need to have somebody watch you and/or film yourself. Here is one article you might consider to help you understand better running form.