Tackle hidden form flaws

Spot and solve your running barriers to increase spreed and banish injury.

by Jennifer Hughes

foot, running
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Clue: Callus skin on one foot is different from the other.

In running, we want our body to be symmetrical. Yet sometimes we have phenomena on one side of the body and not the other, such as a callus on our right big toe but not on the left.

‘This is normal,‘ says University of Illinois distance coach Jeremy Rasmussen. ‘Look at calf flexion: is one more flexible than the other? And what’s your big toe extension like on both sides?’

Fix it

1. Gauge calf flexion

Stand barefoot, facing a wall with your hips square and the big toe and knee of one leg touching a wall. Move that foot back an inch, then lean forward to touch the wall with your knee while keeping your heel on the ground.

Continue to move back inch at a time until you can’t touch the wall with your knee without your heel lifting off the ground. Then do this on the other side. If you’re further from the wall on one side than the other, your calf flexion is asymmetric and needs attention.

To improve your tighter calf, ‘roll a tennis ball along the muscle to loosen it’, says Rasmussen.

2. Measure big toe extension

Put yourself in full calf flexion (toes pointing towards your shin). Have someone pull up on your big toe from side to side. If your two big toes have a different range of motion in this position, you may need to address the difference, says Rasmussen.

‘Roll a golf ball along the sole of the foot with reduced toe motion,’ advises Rasmussen.

Picture credit: Stockbyte/Getty Images

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