#847 Worse exercise for plantar plate when building uphill strength - DOC

#847 Worse exercise for plantar plate when building uphill strength

Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast, we’re talking about one of the worst exercises you can do if you have a plantar plate sprain and you’ve been trying to build your uphill running strength for a trail race.



I recently had a conversation with a patient who had a plantar plate injury. And how he got it was actually trying to build his uphill running strength in preparation for a trail race.

He’s a longtime ultra marathoner, he has lots of experience and what happened was, he did something that was a common mistake that people can make, and it doesn’t cause plantar plate injuries in everybody. But you have to recognize it because if you return to that exercise after you heal your plantar plate injury, you’re almost certain to get it again. It is a common exercise that we might want to do if we’re trying to build strength.

There are a couple of ways you can build strength when you’re running up hill. One, you can just run lots of hills. And if you run, like where I live, I can actually run out the door, I run all the way to the top of Mount Tam with over 2000 feet of climbing and it is only about 15 miles, give or take which trail I take, could be 14 could be 16, but it’s only about 15 miles to get a huge amount of elevation gain.

It’s mostly up and then mostly down. But it’s not really that steep and it takes a long time so that’s a long run for most people, you know, to go out and do that several times a week would be really tough. So, you might want to do something to build strength faster, like running short steep hills, doing hill repeats, that’s also common by the way, I don’t do hill repeats either because I think they’re risky.

But what he did is actually even harder on the plantar plate ligament at the base of the second toe. What he was doing is he was doing a very common thing where he took a 200 pound barbell, he was putting it on his shoulders, and then he was doing calf raises. So, with that barbell on his shoulders, about doubling his weight or more than doubling his weight, he’s actually standing up on his toes over and over and over. And so, when your heel comes up off of the ground, and you have a plantar plate injury, you’re stretching, straining and further injuring the plantar plate.

If you complicate that by actually squishing and compressing the plantar plate under an additional couple of 100 pounds, well, it’s going to aggravate it a whole lot more. It may be that, that actually wouldn’t have happened if he’d had done just a little bit fewer reps or a little bit less weight but that’s the consequence of training. If you’re going to get as strong as possible, you’re basically doing as much stuff as possible to stress and strain the tissues so that it will repair itself. And if you do a little too much and it just doesn’t get to repair itself before the next workout, well then you get an overtraining injury.

But remember, the key here is that there is no overtraining, there’s only under recovering. So, if he’d have been able to incorporate some strategies to heal that tissue a little bit faster, he also might have not wound up with a plantar plate injury, and he might not have needed my help at all.

If you want to learn more about plantar plate injuries in runners, and you want to know the exact strategies I actually teach to physicians, and the same strategies I use with people who sign up for consultation calls with me, you can get that strategy for free if you join me in the plantar plate masterclass.

This is a masterclass where I actually go on live and I take the questions that you send to me in advance. I discuss those but I talk mainly about the exact strategies I use with runners to get them past their plantar plate injuries while maintaining their running fitness. You can get it for free at www.docontherun.com/plantarplatemasterclass. So, go check it out, and I’ll see you in the training.