Lower leg injury
There are a number of exercises that can be done to strengthen the lower leg. For example, in order to activate plantar flexors in the deep plantar flexors one can sit on the floor with the hips flexed, the ankle neutral with knees fully extended as they alternate pushing their foot against a wall or platform. This kind of exercise is beneficial as it hardly causes any fatigue. Another form of isometric exercise for the gastrocnemius would be seated calf raises which can be done with or without equipment. One can be seated at a table with their feet flat on the ground, and then plantar flex both ankles so that the heels are raised off the floor and the gastrocnemius flexed. An alternate movement could be heel drop exercises with the toes being propped on an elevated surface—as an opposing movement this would improve the range of motion. One-legged toe raises for the gastrocnemius muscle can be performed by holding one dumbbell in one hand while using the other for balance, and then standing with one foot on a plate. The next step would be to plantar flex and keep the knee joint straight or flexed slightly. The triceps surae is contracted during this exercise. Stabilization exercises like the BOSU ball squat are also important especially as they assist in the ankles having to adjust to the ball’s form in order to balance.
Lower leg injury
Lower leg injuries are common while running or playing sports. About 10% of all total injuries involve the lower extremities in athletes.The majority of athletes sprain their ankles, which are mainly caused by the increased loads onto the feet when they move into the foot down or in an outer ankle position All areas of the foot, which are the forefoot, midfoot, and rearfoot, absorb various forces while running and can lead to injuries as well. Running and various activities can cause stress fractures, tendinitis, musculotendinous injuries, or any chronic pain to our lower extremities such as the tibia
Types of activities
Injuries to quadriceps or hamstrings are caused by the constant impact loads to the legs during activities, such as kicking a ball. While doing this type of motion, 85% of that shock is absorbed to the hamstrings which can cause strain to those muscles.
Jumping is another risk because if the legs do not land properly after an initial jump, there may be damage to the meniscus in the knees, sprain to the ankle by everting or inverting the foot, or damage to the Achilles tendon and gastrocnemius if there is too much force while plantar flexing.
Weight lifting, such as the improperly performed deep squat, is also dangerous to the lower limbs, because the exercise can lead to an overextension, or an outstretch, of our ligaments in the knee and can cause pain over time
The most common injuries in running involve the knees and the feet. Various studies have focused on the initial cause of these running related injuries and found that there are many factors that correlate to these injuries. Female distant runners who had a history of stress fracture injuries had high vertical impact forces than non-injured subjects. The large forces onto the lower legs were associated with gravitational forces, and this correlated with patellofemoral pain or potential knee injuries. Researchers have also found that these running related injuries affect the feet as well because runners with previous injuries showed more foot eversion and over pronation while running than non-injured runners. This causes more loads and forces on the medial side of the foot, causing more stress on the tendons of the foot and ankle (peroneal tendons). Most of these running injuries are caused by overuse and that running at longer distances weekly for a long duration is a risk for injuring the lower legs.
Voluntary stretches to the legs, such as the wall stretch, condition the hamstrings and the calf muscle to various movements before vigorously working them. But a study has shown that Kinesiology tape gives more promising effect in hamstring extensibility to produce more fluid movement Thirty previously injured males showed a greater advantage of hamstring extensibility in longer durations with Kinesiology tape, or elastic therapeutic tape However, they were more advantageous in the beginning of the exercise with a voluntary, static stretch or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, which are stretching techniques specific to optimize the range of motion of the limb. This shows that stretches do help in the immediate time frames, whereas Kinesiology tape helps in long durations to prevent any future injuries from occurring. The environment and surroundings, such as uneven terrain, can cause the feet to position in an unnatural way, so wearing shoes that can absorb forces from the ground’s impact and allow for stabilizing the feet can prevent some injuries while running as well. Shoes should be structured to allow friction-traction at the shoe surface, space for different foot-strike stresses, or for comfortable, regular arches for the feet.
The chances of damaging our lower extremities will be reduced by having knowledge about some activities associated with lower leg injury and developing a correct form of running, such as not over pronating the foot or overusing the legs. Preventative measures, such as taping, various stretches, and wearing appropriate footwear, will reduce injuries from occurring as well.