Your feet are your foundation and need to be supported!
Your feet are your foundation and anyone who has stubbed their toe realises, albeit for a second or two, just how important they are to us! However, if their smell doesn’t clear a room then few people ever take notice of their poor, overworked and underpaid feet. Your feet are the FOUNDATION of your entire body so it’s always a good time to pay attention to them…
What are my feet and body telling me?
Had I known then, what I know now about how important feet are to the rest of your body I probably would have been a foot doctor! Why? Often times if a problem, pain, or condition elsewhere in the body is not responding to treatment then your feet may be the source or reason for the problem. In other words, most would consider the following as unreasonable... building a house on a faulty basement foundation. In essence, your faulty foot mechanics can be contributing to part or all of the recurrent nature of your back, hip and knee pain or headaches! When your foot is not functioning properly it is unable to correctly absorb this force and as such, instead of being dampened by your feet the energy is travelling up your leg reeking havoc on the rest of your body.
"The force of your heel striking the ground transmits a shock wave up the leg to the pelvis, the spine and into the skull. Within 10 milliseconds of heel striking, scientists studying normal walking recorded a .5 g impact at the skull. This is the equivalent of a 160 pound man being hit in the head by 80 pounds each step!" (1)
How to tell if your feet are not "working for you"?
An easy way to determine if your feet are “working for you” or not is the presence of a
“bunion” which is a bump on the side of your big toe and it is an indication that your arch is collapsing. Other signs include: first few steps in the morning are painful, heel pain, pain under the balls of your toes or arch, shin splints, burning into the toes and recurrent calluses even after a thorough pedicure. The more difficult thing for people to conceptualize is that your feet don’t always have to be “painful” to be causing pain elsewhere into your low back, hips, knees, etc.
Who is a candidate for Orthotics?
Anytime a condition in the body or foot is recurrent meaning it is either unresponsive to care or returns shortly after treatment it is time to consider that your foundation may need to be corrected by orthotics. As well, people who have standing occupations, particularly teachers, nurses, police officers, and factor workers, etc. would do well to wear orthotics in the absence of foot pain to counter the cumulative effects of standing for an entire career. If you sustained a fracture in the lower extremity as a child it may have healed longer or shorter causing a leg length discrepancy that needs to be corrected by orthotics. If you have broken a foot as an adult or had severe ankle sprain(s) then your feet might benefit from extra help and stability offered by orthotics.
But I tried Orthotics and I hated them!
Simply put, orthotics are made from a mould of your feet and therefore keep it in the best position by preventing the foot and arch from collapsing under your body weight. The very first pair of orthotics I tried irritated me so much that I threw them into my closet and did not wear them. Why? They were not made correctly – meaning they were hard and designed to be worn in dress shoes and NOT in the shoes I used for running! Fortunately, subtle changes were made to my orthotics such that today I would not go anywhere without wearing them!
Kids and Orthotics!
In a nutshell, even if your feet are not painful they contribute to how the rest of your body moves and as such, feet are extremely important to your body and health. My children begin wearing orthotics at age four when they start school… I want to be assured that the foundation upon which their body is growing and developing is supported in the best possible position. As the children’s limerick goes “your foot bone, is connected to your shin bone, your shin bone is connected to your knee bone… and so on”. One pair of feet must last you a lifetime - they are an important part of your overall health!!
One pair of feet must last you a lifetime!
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(1) Light, LH., McLellan, GE., Klenerman, L., "Skeletal transients on heel strike in normal walking with different footwear." J Biomechanical, 1980;13:477-480. as quoted in Charrette, M. "Foot Stiffness and the High-Arched Foot". Dynamic Chiropractic March 2013.