workout for injured runners rehab stretching recovery

Being injured can affect us both physically and mentally. It can be a worry that we will lose our progress and this worry can make us rush back into running and delaying the healing process.

Try this workout designed specifically for runners suffering from extensor tendinitis (a pain on the top of the foot) which will get your heart rate up and help you make aerobic gains without compromising your recovery so you can get back to doing what you love faster. 

What is extensor tendinitis?

Running puts an enormous stress on the body and so running injuries can end up being common and frequent, especially if we don't do the appropriate stretching and strength training to accompany our run sessions. Extensor tendinitis is a pain felt across the top of the foot and refers to an inflamed tendon. Generally speaking, this is not too serious of an injury and should heal up on its own in 1-4 weeks, provided you allow it to rest and recover.

Extensor tendinitis is often caused by running shoes being tied too tightly, placing pressure and stress on the tendons that run across the top of the foot. Make sure your running shoes fit you well and aren't too big or too small. If your running shoes are too big, you'll be tempted to tie them tightly to stop them slipping but this could cause pain on the top of the foot. Too small, and they'll squash your toes and cause damage there. 

This particular running injury can also be caused by tight calves and hamstrings causing the tendons to become inflamed. Tight calves and hamstrings are common in runners and can lead to all sorts of injuries. Make sure foam roll your calves regularly and stretch your hamstrings every day to prevent tightness.

The best thing to do if you experience pain across the top of your foot when running is to stop running, cross train instead, and wait until the pain goes away so you know your foot has healed. You can also take anti-inflammatory medicine to help the tendons recover from the inflammation and ease your discomfort.

Top of foot pain in runners

It can be the worst thing imaginable for a runner: not being able to run. It can feel frustrating, worrying, and cause a lot of anxiety. However, there is no need to worry as you can still maintain your aerobic fitness and endurance while your injury heals. Thankfully, extensor tendinitis should heal quite quickly and you will only need to cross train for a week or two.

Try this aerobic workout when you're injured so that you can maintain your fitness, raise your heart rate, and still get your sweat on to help your mental and physical well-being while you can't run.

Low Impact Workout for injured runners

Warm Up

Spend 10 minutes on the elliptical to start raising your heart rate. Aim for about 105 bpm.

Main Set

Kettlbell Swings – 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest, repeat 5 times

Inch Worms – 3 sets of 10 reps

Your heart rate should now be 150-160bpm

Active Rest

Spend 15 minutes on a stationary bike, keeping your heart rate above 120bpm

Threshold Set

Spend 15 minutes on the stairmaster at a minimum of level 10. Your heart rate should be 160-170bpm.

Active Rest

Spend another 15 minutes on the stationary bike, keeping your heart rate above 120bpm. 

Cool Down

Back to the elliptical to cool down for 15 minutes, maintaining a heart rate of 90-100bpm.

This entire workout should take between 60-75 minutes, which will keep your aerobic endurance in check while you can't run while also challenging your threshold to help you make aerobic gains. Other good forms of cross training for runners include swimming and cycling. This is why many runners end up finding a passion for triathlon!