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health watch: james faison Running program might help prevent nagging lower-leg injuries for track athletes Every year, around track season I see a steady number of athletes head to the athletic training room with lower leg injuries. Shin splints, achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis ... and the list goes on. A progressive lower leg strengthening and flexibility program before your season starts may help ‘season’ your feet for the rigors of running on the track. One strategy that has helped my athletes prepare for the season is a “Socks on Turf” gradual training program. Since field turf has more cushion than the track, certain running drills can be done on the turf without the jarring impact of the track. My high school has a field turf playing surface, and incorporating some barefoot running drills on the turf has helped prepare my athlete’s feet and ankles for the volume of training that is coming up in their season. The program is quite simple, and all it requires is some properly fitting socks and a 15 yard square of turf on the field. Wearing socks on the turf while exercising helps to protect your feet by reducing friction, preventing cuts, and keeping your feet clean. The five main drills that you should use are jogging, side shuffles, skipping, toe walking and heel walking. The “Socks on Turf” program is meant to be done two times a week over the 2-4 weeks right before tryouts. “SOCKS ON TURF” Running Program: › Jogging 10 yards x2 › Side shuffle 10 yards x2 › Skipping 10 yards x2 › Toe walking 10 yards x2 › Heel walking 10 yards x2 All of these drills must be pain-free, and should help you get your foot and ankle ready for the upcoming season. If there is any pain before, during or after exercise, discontinue immediately. For more information on preseason conditioning programs, visit the Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes at Children’s Hospital. We have facilities in Oakland and Walnut Creek. ✪ James Faison is an Athletic Trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at the Sports Medicine For Young Athletes, a division of Children’s Hospital Oakland. He is also the Head Athletic Trainer at Berkeley High. 38 SportStars™ June 6, 2013 Score Digital Content: Scan SSM With LAYAR Upload photos and team stats!

BA Issue 67, June 6, 2013

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