Do you have back or neck pain? Do your knees hurt? Do you ever feel that your balance could be better? This could all be related to improper alignment at your feet!
We know the importance of a good foundation in a building. Without a solid foundation, the building can have structural problems that cascade up the building. Another way to look at it: If you have problems at the bottom, you’ll have problems at the top and everywhere in between!
The same is true of our feet. Without a good foundation (good alignment at your feet), you can have increased stress on all the joints above your feet. This affects your posture and balance. Think about this: An average person takes 10,000 steps per day. Each step you take puts one and half times your body weight on your foot, each running step almost eight times!
For someone with flat feet, more stress is placed on the ankle tendons and there may be pain on the inside of your knees. This alignment can cause the hips to rotate inwards, leading to increased stress on your back, more wear and tear, even pain!
With high arches, the foot tends to be stiff. Your feet not only provide a base, they provide shock absorption. The flexibility and strength in your feet help lessen the impact on your other joints when your foot hits the ground. For joint protection and to prevent future problems, the proper amount of absorption is necessary.
Because your shoes absorb so much shock and provide weight distribution, they do wear out. They should be replaced every 9-12 months for non-runners, 3-6 months for runners. One quick test to see if your shoes are worn out is to put them on the counter. Look at them from behind. Do they tilt more to one side than the other? If so, your shoes likely need to be replaced! Also, it’s always a good idea to have two pairs of shoes for working out or walking in, and alternate them each day. Especially here in the desert, your feet can get damp from sweat. They need a day to air out!
For some, proper shoes can correct for alignment. Many times, an orthotic may be recommended. These can be over the counter or custom. Orthotics are inserts that slip into your shoe. They help cup your heel and provide appropriate arch support.
Feet do come in all different sizes and shapes! One size does not fit all. For an expert in assessing your body’s structure, alignment and movement, turn to a physical therapist. With the detailed analysis a therapist performs, a specific program can be set up for you to prevent future problems. It is specifically designed for you, to correct for flexibility problems or muscle imbalances, as well as recommendations for footwear.
An interesting example. A woman her 40’s came in complaining of headaches for two and half years. She was on disability, receiving injections for pain management and some days couldn’t drive because of her headaches. Her evaluation showed that she had poor alignment of her feet affecting her heel strike (first contact of her heel on the ground as she took a step). This caused hip rotation, leading to muscle imbalances in her low back, going up her spine to her neck. This was corrected with custom orthotics, new shoes and a stretching/strengthening program. Her headaches got better within two weeks!
Do you have problems that you’d like to discuss with a qualified practitioner? Turn to physical therapy for a comprehensive assessment! Give us a call today!
New Beginning Physical Therapy, Inc. provides the highest level of rehabilitative care available. Our therapists are all highly trained and licensed physical therapy professionals. Our Passion is to make a dramatic, positive impact in our clients’ lives. We love what we do! Nothing could be more rewarding for us than facilitating your path to wellness. We are in Palm Desert, California, and serve the entire Coachella Valley.