Feet. They are probably the most underestimated appendage that we have. We use them every single day, from the moment we hop out of bed to the moment we climb back in. We tip toe, walk, run, jump, stand, balance, skip, dance and ride bikes among other things, yet most of the time we don't even notice them. Don't you think that this is toe-tally unacceptable?
Perhaps its time to learn a little about out feet:
- We have 26 muscles 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons & ligaments in our feet alone
- We have 3 arches in one foot
- 1/4 of all the bones in the human body are down in your feet. When these bones are out of alignment, so is the rest of the body.
Many of my clients suffer with their foot posture which can inevitably leads to problems in the rest of their bodies. Its amazing to think that your aches and pains in your shoulder, or that continual niggle in your knee may be the cause of your foot posture. It is also the case that your body posture can cause the posture in your feet
So what are the different foot postures?
When the foot lands on the inside of the sole
(inward rolling of the foot)
- Flat or collapsed arches
- Inside of the ankle bone is lower than the outside of the ankle bone
Everyone pronates a little bit as you need it for the gait cycle (walking/running). A little bit of pronation is also needed to absorb shock, but when you pronate for too long and too much, this becomes a problem as the tendons and ligaments in the foot and ankle take a lot of strain. A foot that over pronates acts like a loose bag of bones during the walking cycle. The foot is very flexible but has to work much harder to drive the body, fatiguing easily and therefore placing stress on the lower body and therefore contributing to shin splints, patellafemoral dysfunction (incorrect tracking of the knee cap); hip and lower back pain.
When the foot lands on the outside of the sole (outward rolling of the foot)
- High arches
- Outside of the ankle bone is lower than the inside of the ankle bone
Again supination is needed for the gait cycle, however over supination will also cause problems for the rest of the body as in this position the foot is less able to provide shock absorption. This predisposes the person to shin splints, ankle sprains and stress fractures of the tibia or metatarsals
When the foot lands on the sole of the foot
(no rolling of the foot)
- Neutral arches
- Ankle bones are paralell to each other
Besides sounding like a bad Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, what can you do if you are a over pronator or over supinator?
There are a variety of exercises that can be done to improve both over pronation and over supination. Contrary to what is believed, these exercises are not just isolated to the feet area. In fact improving your foot posture is a full body workout. Keep an eye out for part II of "Foot for thought" where we discuss ways to improve over pronation.