Your feet may be the problem!
Vacations to warm places are great and I feel fortunate that I am able to go on them. For the most part I try my best to disconnect from work, but since I love my job, there are some parts of my mind that are always thinking.
I was just away on a beach vacation, and given that most people walk around barefoot, I was once again reminded of how many people have flat feet (structurally there is no arch) or overpronate when they walk (functionally their arch is not working properly).
So I think to myself: do all these people wear orthotics? Do they even know what orthotics are? Do they exercise? Do they realize that some of the pain they are inevitably feeling is originating from their feet and is preventable? Do the women realize that their “oh so dreaded, ugly and soon-to-be painful” bunions could have been prevented (bunions are more common with women)?
For the individual, I am unable to answer these questions but for the masses, I can. I know most people either have no clue that they have structural/functional foot issues, don’t realize there are simple corrective solutions and the pain they are experiencing in other parts of their body could be originating from their feet. Your feet are the bottom of the kinetic chain (body parts that are linked together) and if there is a problem with your feet, body parts above may suffer. Think of it this way: if the bottom floor of a building has problems, are you confident that the upper floors are safe?
If you exercise, and have flat feet or overpronate, you are exposed to even bigger issues. Your feet act as shock absorbers and if they aren’t working, you are essentially driving your car without shocks…how do you think that’s going to end up for the rest of the car parts??? I hope you are getting my point!
If a patient presents to my office complaining of foot pain, ankle pain, knee pain, hip pain or low back pain, the first thing I check is their feet and arches. Next I check their gait (walking pattern). If you have flat feet or overpronate, proper custom-made orthotics should be strongly considered and may be the solution to your problem. Orthotics may be the preventative health tool that saves you a lot of grief. In simple terms custom-made orthotics are inserts that are made to correct your specific structural or functional foot abnormalities. If you have a shoulder problem, I can’t just get a device put it in your shirt and be rid of it. But if you have a problem caused from your feet, I can put you in an orthotic and the problem is solved.
Here’s a list of conditions that may be caused by your feet and corrected, prevented or helped by the use of custom made orthotics:
- Low back pain
- Hip pain
- snapping hip
- Knee pain
- Iliotibial band syndrome (runners knee)
- Patella femoral syndrome
- Plantar Fasciitis (pain on the bottom of your feet)
Dr. G’s Tips:
- If you have low back, hip, knee, ankle or foot pain, make sure your feet are examined as the possible cause
- If you have flat feet (no arch) or bunions, consider custom-made orthotics
- Regardless of what anyone tells you, wearing orthotics will not help you “grow an arch”. Therefore if you need orthotics, you will always need them
- Custom-made orthotics should be moulded or cast from foam or plaster (Until I am shown otherwise I am not a believer in the electronic scanners….my opinion, they simply wow the patients)
- Go to a reputable practitioner to get assessed for orthotics and to actually get your orthotics made. If you were not moulded for orthotics, then they aren’t custom made
- Depending on your usage, have your orthotics checked every couple years
- Sport or exercise orthotics are not the same as casual or dress orthotics. They have different requirements and should be made of different materials, therefore the same orthotic should not be used for both purposes
- Although they do make orthotics for high heels, I would not recommend them. High heels are not good for your feet and no device can correct that…..ladies it’s the price you pay for fashion..be aware
Get Assessed, Get Diagnosed, Stay Healthy
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