“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Probably not the meaning Lao Tzu had in mind, but think about the impact that one step has on our bodies. There are 206 bones in the human body, and 25% of those are in our feet! Aside from the occasional foot rub, our feet tend to be neglected until there is a problem. Problems that begin in the feet can lead to knee pain, hip pain, back pain and more.
The largest skyscrapers and monuments in the world could not stand tall without the help of a strong foundation. That same principle applies to us. The alignment of the bones in your feet and your arches can affect the stability of every joint above them. The American Podiatric Medical Association says the average person will walk the equivalent of four times around the globe over their lifetime! Think about doing that walk in high heels or shoes that are too tight.
How You Can Keep Your Feet Healthy:
1. Get moving! Walking is the best thing you can do for your feet. Not only is it great for your health, but it keeps the muscles, ligaments and joints of your feet active.
2. If you are getting reoccurring pain in your feet, knees or hips during specific activities take a break from those activities and have your chiropractor take a look. A small tweak to fix biomechanics may solve a chronic problem.
3. Wear appropriate shoes. Not only is it important to wear properly fitting shoes, but it’s also important to replace your shoes when necessary. Many of us keep shoes way too long, and it’s been advised to replace gym shoes once a year if you exercise ONE day a week!
4. Orthotics. Custom shoe inserts are the best way to balance out your foundation. Fallen arches, flat feet, over pronation or over supination can all be corrected with the proper orthotic. Once your feet get acclimated to orthotics, you will see improvements in biomechanics that can not only help athletic performance, but reduce pain as well.
Common Conditions Related to Your Feet:
1. Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the soft tissue in the arch of the foot. It can occur due to overuse, improper use, a previous injury or fallen arches. Ice and proper rest are a start to healing, but should be checked out by a health professional. Custom orthotics may help reduce strain by properly supporting the feet.
2. Shin Splints are often caused by strain of the anterior and posterior tibialis muscles. These muscles are extremely important for support to your arches during activity. Fallen arches or repetitive stressors on these tendons cause the muscle to actually pull away from the bone. Just like plantar fasciitis; rest, ice, adjustments for the feet and custom orthotics can help with this problem.
3. Stress Fractures are “cracks” that can occur in any bone. The most common cause is a structural imbalance that puts unnecessary load and strain on a specific area of the foot. Once you have a stress fracture, rest is usually the only solution. When the fracture heals it is time to determine the causes of abnormal stressors.
If you feel you have any of the above conditions they should be looked at by a health professional. Your chiropractor is a great resource to help make sure your feet are properly aligned and your biomechanics are not causing undue stress on your body. Be good to your feet, and they’ll be good to you!
North Shore Pro-Active Health at 112 W. Lake Street, Libertyville, offers a free consultation if you are interested in learning about how chiropractic care can enhance your life. Mention this article when scheduling for a FREE digital foot scan to see how your arches are affecting your health! Dr. Jordan & Dr. Jade can be reached at 847-362-4476. www.drleasure.com
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