The Role of Your Foot
Your feet are your interface with the ground and are made up of a complex system of bones and tissues that contribute to two main functions: shock absorption and propulsion. When your foot hits the ground it plays a role in shock absorption, in order to do so your foot must be adaptable and flexible. When your heel hits the ground the bones in your feet unlock and your arch falls in order to absorb shock. When you are pushing off the ground your foot’s role must shift. In this phase your foot must be stiff and locked in order to be efficient, our arches should be high to act as a lever to push us forward. These are two very different functions and our feet must be able to effectively transition between the arch up and arch down positions in order be most successful.
The problem in most people is our feet do the arch down position too well! Our arches are continuing to fall too far and this delays our ability to push off the ground. If our arches flatten out too much then they cause abnormal posture and stress on our knees, hips and backs. All of our joints are connected in a continuous chain; consequently having one link out of alignment will affect and transfer to the connecting links. When our arch drops towards the floor it causes an inwards twist at our ankle. Our knee then absorbs this twist and is forced to rotate inwards. The inwards twist at the knee is absorbed at the hip and the pelvis is forced to rotate downwards putting a greater curve in the low back. This increases the stress and stain in all the structures all the way up the chain!
Bunions, metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot), plantar fasciitis (often pain in the arch of the foot or heel), shin splints, Achilles pain, and knee pain can all be a result of long standing wear and tear placed on those structures due to poor foot alignment. There are many treatments for foot pain but you must address the source of the pain and change the way your feet interact with the ground in order to maximize correction. A custom-made orthotic is a device inserted into your shoe designed to align the foot and lower limb into the most efficient position. The correct foot orthotic can address the underlying cause of pain. An orthotic that conforms perfectly to your arch to provide support acts to change your foot posture and function - not just provide cushioning. A custom-made orthotic that cradles your entire foot can act to restore proper posture and relieve tissues of abnormal stresses. Abnormal joint position can be reversed allowing for the affected tissues to heal and normal function to be restored.