By the age of 20, nearly 80% of us has some kind of foot problem, and by age forty almost all of us do.
What Causes Foot Problems?
From the time you learn to walk, your feet assume three crucial functions: they support your body whenever you stand, walk, or run; they assist you in achieving movement from one place to another; and they help protect your bones and soft tissues from damaging shock stress as you move. Being overweight, having minor structural defects in the feet, or injuries - all of these factors can contribute to additional foot and body stress. So even though one-quarter of all the bones in your body are ina your feet, having to perform these three strenuous tasks day after day can (and often does) lead to some type of foot and/or body problem. It's not too surprising to learn, therefore, that by the age of twenty, nearly 80% of us have some kind of foot problem, and by age forty almost everyone does.
What are some of the most typical foot problems?
Pronation is considered the most common foot problem. In pronation, some of the bones of the foot drop to a less stable position because the foot arches are too weak to keep them in proper alignment. The arches themselves may be unnaturally stretched ("flat feet"), and stress on the entire foot increases. Another common problem - one that is often found along with pronation - is plantar fascitis, a stress irritation to the sheath of elastic tissues running nearly the entire length of the foot. If not treated, either condition can lead to progressive development of foot malfunction and discomfort. Feet can become "tired and achy" or experience a burning pain, and walking can begin to feel "clumsy" as you try to move your foot in a way that avoids further pain. Foot pain means that you should make an appointment to see your healthcare professional right away.
How do I know if I have pronated feet?
Your healthcare professional is best qualified to make that determination; but basically speaking, pronated feet often "flare outward" during standing or movement; your Achilles tendons and kneecaps may be rotated inward from the midline of your legs; and shoes may have heel wear on the outside and look "run over".
Since my feet don't hurt, I don't have any real problem with them - right?
Wrong. Even if your feet don't hurt, the fact that your foundation has been weakened can have a potentially serious impact to the rest of your body. If you are currently having knee, hip, low back or neck pain, the reason may be because your feet aren't supporting joints, bones, or soft tissues above the ankle properly, and this lack of support has contributed to stress/pain in some other part of your body. If you are having pain in any of the areas mentioned above, ask your healthcare professional if your feet could be a contributing factor.
What can my healthcare professional do about my foot problems?
Depending upon your specific condition, your healthcare professional can probably provide you with a conservative (i.e., non-surgical) treatment program that can help both your feet and your entire posture feel and function better. But before such a program begins, he or she may want to perform a complete examination, which might include checking for tenderness in the foot, analyzing your posture, taking x-rays, watching how you walk, and looking over your shoes for signs of improper wear. Based upon the findings, your healthcare professional may develop a program containing all or some of the following:
- Join mobilization of the foot to stabilize your postural foundation and to help relieve related stress/pain to the rest of your body.
- Use of Spinal Pelvic Stabilizers Orthotics to help the foot maintain its structural and functional balance as you stand, walk, or run. Your healthcare professional will select the orthotics best suited for you based on a variety of factors (lifestyle, health, age, weight, sex, etc.). And because most people wear at least two styles of shoes each day, your healthcare professional may determine that an orthotics Combo (two pairs) would be best for your condition.
- Exercise with a Thera-Ciser home-care exercise system to help build foot strength and joint stability.
Your healthcare professional may also want to advise you on lifestyle changes, such as weight reduction, proper shoe style selection, and modifying your level of physical activity.
Healthy feet are the key to your overall postural health, so follow your healthcare professional's recommendations.
courtesy of www.footlevers.com