When an injured runner seeks my physiotherapy services the first thing I assess is their postural stability (balance) in single leg stance. This is a simple evaluation that provides a lot of information regarding many of the key problems that lead to injury in runners. Since both feet are never simultaneously in contact with the ground while running, being able to maintain a wobble free posture on one leg serves as the cornerstone to this activity. Take the time to master this drill prior to tackling harder exercises or you will only be training compensatory strategies and your risk of re-injury will increase.
How to perform the drill: Balance on one foot with it facing straight ahead, toes relaxed, hips square, the knee slightly bent and in line with the toes. Think about growing tall to avoid overarching the low back or leaning the trunk to the side. Keep the free leg neutral with the knee bent 90°. Progress to hands on head. Start in bare feet and progress to shoed.
If you find this exercise challenging or it feels different on each leg, consult your health professional to ensure that you are training the right muscles and remain injury-free.
Keep your eyes open for an upcoming running seminar at Summit Sport Physiotherapy