Amanda Gallow, UW Health Physical Therapist/Sports Rehabilitation, outlines some exercises and stretches to help address the injuries discussed in last week’s blog. Remember the following exercises should be utilized as prevention strategies not treatment interventions. If you experience a persistent injury, please contact the UW Sports Rehabilitation clinic for consultation. In addition to the following exercises other injury prevention strategies include: proper foot wear, appropriate walking surface (non-cambered road) and gradual increase in walking speed, duration and frequency.
Purpose: Improve gluteal/hip strength specifically the gluteus medius muscle. This helps in maintaining pelvic stability.
Set-up: Be sure your top hip is rolled forward, keep your feet together and rotate the top knee towards the ceiling. You should feel this in the back pocket region along the outside portion of the gluteals. Don’t let your hips rock back and forth during this movement.
Progression: A resistance band or ankle weight (to the top leg) can be added to increase the challenge
Amount: 2 sets of 20-25 repetitions
Purpose: Improve gluteal/hip strength specifically the gluteus maximus muscle.
Set-up: Lying on your back with knees bent to 90 degrees, heels down and toes up, tighten your stomach muscles and squeeze your gluteal muscles, lift your hips off the ground. Do not arch through your lower back.
Progression: This becomes more challenging by the lifting arms overhead. To focus on one side at a time, lift one leg and hold, be sure to keep your pelvis level.
Amount: This depends on how well you can engage your gluteals. You may have to start with 5-second holds and progress to 10-15 seconds. Repetitions can be anywhere between 8-12 reps. Focus on quality rather than quantity.
Purpose: Flexibility of the thigh muscle (quadriceps) and calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus).
Quadriceps stretch: Standing, pull your foot to your buttocks with the same side hand, place opposite hand on the wall for balance if needed. Be sure not to arch your lower back, keep your stomach muscles engaged and stand tall. This should be felt across the front of the thigh.
Calf stretching: Place your hands on the wall, put one foot slightly behind the other. Be sure both toes are pointed straight ahead. Keep the back leg straight, a stretch should be felt in the calf. Then bend the back knee slightly, keeping the heel on the ground at all times. This stretch should be felt closer to the ankle.
Amount: Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.
Purpose: Improve balance and stability in addition to working on pelvis control.
Set-up: Standing on one leg with the knee slightly bent (do not lock the knee straight), focus on keeping the pelvis level, trunk upright and maintaining balance. Pelvis alignment is achieved by keeping the knees parallel to each other and at the same height.
Progression: Closing your eyes or standing on an uneven surface such as a towel roll can challenge your balance.
Amount: Work up to holding each position for 60 seconds.