You have spent 10 hours on your feet at work and you’ve just finished up a 10 mile hike; you are wondering if your feet will ever recover.
You may be experiencing related pain in your back, knees, or hips. Standing, walking, or running for long periods can result in problems to the foundation of your body: your feet!
Foot problems often lead to associated pain in your back, hips, knees and ankles.
There is a lot to consider when we talk about foot problems. Improper footwear, biomechanics, heel or bone spurs, bunions, and high arches are all common foot problems that can lead to pain in other areas of the body.
Two critical “foot” issues are functional and structural issues. Put your feet on the floor, the arches of your feet are in their neutral position. As you stand and place weight on your feet, the arches compress and compensate for your body weight. It’s not uncommon that one or both arches will compensate for the added weight and drop. As the foot drops, the ankle begins to pronate, or roll inward, which causes the knee, leg and hip to internally rotate and the leg will “functionally” shorten. The hip drops due to the drop in the arch and can cause knee, hip, or low back pain. And if one femur or tibia is shorter than the other “structural” asymmetry is at issue and the body will likewise compensate and open the door to pain. This is a very common problem. The foot on the longer leg must compensate for the leg length difference, which can also lead to ankle, knee, hip or low back issues. Poor alignment can cause overdue wear and tear on the entire body.
Re-aligning the rear of the foot and supporting the forefoot with a custom orthotic or footbed can correct both functional and structural changes. In fact, assessing your overall biomechanics and using corrective footbeds are both excellent steps in achieving normal foot function which can relieve associated ankle, knee, hip and back pain.
Chiropractic, stretching, and massage therapy are all useful tools in correcting some issues related to functional and structural changes to the foot, but they are sometimes not enough. In many cases, consulting a certified pedorthist is an excellent option. Certified pedorthists are members of the allied healthcare community and are professionally trained in foot anatomy biomechanics and pathology. A certified pedorthist can assess your biomechanics and measure you for custom footbeds.
Additionally, physical therapists, podiatrists, chiropractors and exercise physiologists are trained in these areas. Two excellent websites that have more information are www.esoles.com and www.bikefitters.com or visit Capital City Runners or Shaw’s if you are in Tallahassee and Track Shack if you are in Orlando.
In addition to consulting the noted professionals, you can do some obvious things like wearing properly fitting shoes and paying attention to the way you walk and your overall biomechanics. Since poor alignment and support of the bottom of your foot can be on of the causes of back, hip and ankle pain, in addition to direct foot pain, it makes sense to address foot health as an extension to back, hip, and knee health.
Remember, this is one more tool in your toolbox for healthy living. Supporting your feet and spine are all accomplished by stretching, strengthening, massage therapy, chiropractic, proper foot support, rest, and sound nutrition. By focusing on the feet, we can explore another unique opportunity to help educate and alleviate different types of foot, back, hip and knee pain.
For more information or questions regarding Active Isolated Stretching, contact Dana or Kim at Stretchingyourlife@comcast.net