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Ewwwww, my feet are gross… Why you should never say that!

I have a friend who hates his feet, even to the point, he refuses to take his shoes off in public… I’ve managed to sneak a look at his feet at the beach and pool, and in all fairness, he has pretty normal and great feet! What I’m concerned about is THE two things that take him everywhere are such a source of contempt. Today I will share with you why your feet are important and we’ll explore the connection of how your feet can affect other parts of your body.


The foot has 28 bones, 33 joints and 112 ligaments, that’s a lot for such a small area of the body!

In fact the foots main function is to:

  • Support the bodyweight

  • Provide balance.

  • Absorb shock

  • Transfer ground reaction forces.

  • Compensate for body misalignment



Your foot needs to be rigid and stable enough to support the weight of the body, yet flexible enough to be able to cope with uneven surfaces. If there isn’t enough support from the feet, various parts of the body—particularly the spine—are exposed to additional stress, which can lead to a number of issues:

  • Back, hip, knee and foot pain

  • Poor posture and abnormal foot function

  • Excessive shock transmission up through the body

  • Impaired sports performance

  • Greater risk of injury



When you look at off the shelf shoes such as the Asics Kayano which is marketed as a supportive and stabilising shoe, you most likely find the inside arch support only- 1 arch only.. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Kayano’s but they are no substitute for support like a customised orthotic that is firstly, made for me (customised), and secondly, has 3 arch support.

Together, these 3 arches form an extremely strong, supportive “plantar vault” that distributes the weight of the entire body. So when looking for proper foot support, wouldn’t it make sense to support all 3 arches?



These 3 arches in the foot are what keep the body balanced:

  • Medial longitudinal arch (A–C)

  • Lateral longitudinal arch (B–C)

  • Anterior transverse (metatarsal) arch (A–B)


On average, we walk 10000 steps per day, 1000000 steps per year and 185000 kilometers in our lifetime. The foot can withstand 3-4 times of the body’s weight which is particularly pronounced during running.



If the arches of the foot are unstable it can contribute to conditions such as:


  • Pes planus or pes valgus commonly known as flat foot.

  • Hallux Valgus- know as a bunion

  • Metatarsalgia- pain at the the base of the toes

  • Morton's Toe and Morton's Neuroma- nerve pain on the underside of the foot near the toes

  • Plantar fasciitis- inflammation of the bottom side of the foot







What are the signs that you may need to have your feet assessed?

There are a few tell-tale signs;

  1. Foot flare during gait

  2. Internal knee rotation

  3. Bowed achilles tendon

  4. Low inside arches

  5. Excessive shoe wear



At Balanced for Life, we assess the foot and its impact on other musculoskeletal conditions. We also provide customised support which doesn’t limit the plantar vault (like a rigid orthotic) but optimises the foot arches and supports All 3 of them.

Why not book in for a foot assessment after all it may help with your back, hip and knee pain? because at balanced for life, moving better matters.





References:

http://www.footlevelerseducation.com/plantar-vault/


Gijon-Nogueron G, Fernandez-Villarejo M. Risk Factors and Protective Factors for Lower-Extremity Running Injuries A Systematic Review. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2015 Nov;105(6):532-40. doi: 10.7547/14-069.1. PMID: 26667506.


Farokhmanesh K, Shirzadian T, Mahboubi M, Shahri MN. Effect of foot hyperpronation on lumbar lordosis and thoracic kyphosis in standing position using 3-dimensional ultrasound-based motion analysis system. Glob J Health Sci. 2014 Jun 17;6(5):254-60. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v6n5p254. PMID:


Hadadi M, Mousavi ME, Fardipour S, Vameghi R, Mazaheri M. Effect of soft and semirigid ankle orthoses on Star Excursion Balance Test performance in patients with functional ankle instability. J Sci Med Sport. 2014 Jul;17(4):430-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2013.05.017. Epub 2013 Jun 28. PMID: 23810776.


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