Today on the Doc On The Run podcast, we’re talking about soreness in your leg when you’re working on your balance and you’re trying to get back to running after an injury.
Runner’s Aid Station Patient:
I’ve been doing the wobble board stuff, trying to get that two to three times a day and that’s incredible how that fatigues the whole leg below the knee.
Dr. Chris Segler:
Yeah, right. Well, that’s what it’s supposed to do. So that fatigue that you get below the knee is these muscles are trying to basically keep you stable, and they’re not muscles you commonly use. So if you get that fatigue when you’re doing those muscles, it’s a really good thing because if you had someone that was, let’s say, a high level gymnast, right? Somebody that can do flips on a balance beam. Well, they are so in tune and so balanced and they have their proprioception so good that they could do that stuff for an hour straight and not have any fatigue.
People like you and me is that that fatigue is using those muscles and an indicator you’re using muscles that you are not normally using, and they’re really out of shape, out of tune, and can very rapidly get big gains, just like some friend who goes out and who said they want to start running. You tell them, “Okay. Well, this is what you do. Go out and do this.” And then they tell you, “Well, I ran a mile, but I can barely walk.”
They want to quit running and you’re like, “No, no, no, no, no. This is going to be very short-term. You’re going to have this soreness for a very short term, and then you’re going to be stronger, and then you’ll be able to run a whole lot more.”
It’s the same thing with the fatigue in these little muscles when you do the balance board routine. You’re trying to actually use the stretch receptors in those muscles that are getting sore to tell your brain where your foot is actually positioned when your eyes are closed.
They can only get that way if you exercise them enough that you feel it, that you get sore, you get exhausted, you get tired or whatever below the knee. So when you’re trying to restore your ankle stability because you’ve been injured, because you’ve been off your feet, or because you had some remote sprain many, many years ago that damaged your proprioceptive ability, then that soreness is predicted, but it is a good thing. It’s a sign you’re on the right track.