A dodgy knee, aching hips and pain in your back often gets attributed to old age. But did you know that a lot of body aches stem from the alignment of your feet? With more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, 26 bones and 33 joints that all work together to support your posture and balance, the alignment of your feet can impact your entire body, even your organs.
According to findings in an Australian Healthy Feet survey, foot pain can be attributed to lifestyle, with heel and arch pain being experienced by more than 48% at least once in their lifetime.
Foot health is something most people take for granted and it’s not until you experience the searing pain of plantar fasciitis or Achilles heel that they will seek out help. Here are some of the most common body aches that stem from the alignment of your feet.
Back and joint pains
When your feet hurt, you adapt the way you walk to avoid more pain without even realising you’re doing it. When you overcompensate by adjusting the way your foot naturally moves, it can have a spiral effect and result in spinal misalignment. Back and joint paints are quite a common complaint for those who are flat footed and can cause referred pain. People tend to adapt an unnatural gait resulting in walking, standing, and sitting in ways that exacerbate the condition.
When your feet are flat, the arches are abnormally low and the impact of walking, running and standing means your knees and hips absorb the impact instead. Left untreated, it can lead to severe knee, ankle and hip problems.
Flat feet is not the end of the world if you deal with the problem early. A change of shoes or professionally customised orthotics can make the world of difference. Don’t just settle for the cheap, one size fits all insoles from the supermarket.
Balance and posture
If you’re accident prone, always falling over, tripping over your feet or easily wobble off balance, you may not be just clumsy, it could be a result of misaligned feet and bad posture.
If you over pronate (your foot tends to roll outwards) or under pronate (your foot tends to roll inwards), it can tend to throw you off balance. If you’ve never had your natural walking gait analysed by a foot doctor, you may not even realise there’s a problem. A good way to tell if you have an unnatural gait is to look at the soles of your shoes. If they tend to wear down on one side, you could benefit from orthotics.
Calf pain or muscle weakness
Foot pain can also affect your muscles and cause tightness or weakness. You may attribute referred calf pain to being related to achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, but did you know you can also get tight calf muscles from wearing high heels and prolonged periods of being sedentary.
A lesser-known fact is that your foot alignment can impact your organ health. When your feet aren’t functioning like they should be, the nerves send millions of messages to your brain. Your brain will process this information and compensate. This can affect the entire structure of your body that holds your organs in the correct position. It can result is bad posture, which in turns causes breathing problems, headaches and an endless list of health problems.
Tim Teale is the founder of new Australia online orthotics service, StepBetter. StepBetter are a new online company who are shaking up the industry by offering custom orthotics online. By ordering them online, they cost 1/2 of the price and due to the 3D printing technology that they are using, there is also a 95% reduction in waste when compared to traditional polypropylene devices.