Pain Relief Starting at Your Feet
"Your feet are telling a story; are you listening?"
Have you taken a good look at your feet lately? I mean it, slip your foot out of your shoe, take your socks and give your feet a good look. What do you notice? Are there any callouses, corns or bunions? Do your feet look red or do your toes look cramped and pushed together? When you compare your two feet together, do they look different from one another?
Your feet have a story to tell and it may be time you started to listen. Many of us go through life and we do not realize the impact that our two feet can have on our overall health. The joints and muscles of the body function most efficiently when they are in physical balance. Principles of engineering have shown that with any physical entity, whether it is a bridge, a building, or the human body- Structure dictates function.
The body is a biomechanical kinetic chain where abnormal movements at one line, or joint, can interfere with proper movements at other joints.
During standing and walking, our bodies are subjected to natural forces and postures that can inflict mechanical stress and strain throughout the interrelated chain of joints and muscles. When foot imbalance is present, there is a negative impact on the knees, hips, pelvis, and spine.
Do you know how many arches of the feet we humans have? Most people would say one. But did you know that we actually have three? The three arches are the inner arch, the outer arch and the arch under the forefoot (ball of the foot). These three arches form a supporting vault that distributes the weight of the entire body.
Your feet are the foundation of your body. They support you when you stand, walk, or run. And they help protect your spine, bones, and soft tissues from damaging stress as you move around. Your feet perform better when all their muscles, arches, and bones are in their ideal stable positions.
To give you an idea of the connection the feet have with your spine and the rest of your body, stand up with your legs comfortably apart and put your hands on your hips. Now roll your feet inwards as far as you can and hold that position for a few seconds. Do you feel the pressure on the inside of your ankles, your inner knees, your outer hips and perhaps even your lower back? Now roll your feet back to being level again. Do you notice how the pressure on those joints was reduced as you did this?
Rolling the feet inwards caused the arches of your feet to drop or collapse towards the ground. You were re-creating a scenario that occurs in over 87% of the world's population. This phenomenon is called excessive or over pronation. If you have ever heard a runner describe themselves as a "pronator", this is what they are referring to. So to say it plainly, over-pronation happens in 8 out of 10 people who are walking around our planet every day.
Now you must understand that some inward rolling of the feet is normal, but for many of us, the dropping of the arches is so serious that it causes pain and problems in the feet, ankles, knees and/or the lower back. Some of these joints may even be causing pain for you. I will describe a few common conditions and what you can do to help yourself. At the very least, it will give you new appreciation for your feet.
All of the conditions described below can come from a variety of sports and activities that require you to be on your feet. Even simple everyday activities like walking through the halls of your home or office can create foot problems. See if any of the following conditions apply to you.
It is quite obvious from what you have learned thus far about the arches of the feet and some of the problems that can affect them, that something must be done to get some help. If there is compromise of one arch in the foot, the other arches must compensate and are subject to additional stresses, which usually leads to further compromise. Long term problems will result from any of these conditions if the proper treatment is not sought.
- As a Chiropractor who is skilled with the feet, Dr. Kevin will adjust your feet. If you have never had your feet adjusted by your Chiropractor before, you don't know what you are missing. Aside from helping to support your three arches by getting the bones to move back to where they should be, it feels great.
- Ask Dr. Kevin about flexible, custom molded, 3-arch foot inserts (orthotics). Since the connective tissue under your feet is now permanently stretched out to some degree, you need the support from now on. Once you get the inserts, wear them appropriately. You want to keep your feet stabilized so they don't get any worse.
- Exercises: Dr. Kevin will discuss this with you specifically to make sure you receive the appropriate exercises for your conditions.
- Get supportive shoes: Dr. Kevin will also be able to discuss this with you and make recommendations.
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