Not All Feet are the Same
|How a medium-high arched foot can travel|
Feet come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and in most cases there is nothing necessarily abnormal about the shape of our feet. But the shape of our feet has a definite impact in the relationship that our bodies have with the ground. High-arched feet travel differently than medium and low arched feet.
How our feet are shaped and how they travel has a direct impact on the health of our ankle, knee, hip and back joints.
How Our Foot Type Affects Our Gait
Have you ever wondered why some people walk with their feet pointed outward, while others walk with their feet pointed straight ahead? Why do some people walk pigeon-toed, while others waddle like the sheriff walking into the saloon? Why do some people make a lot of noise when they walk, while others barely make a sound? While any of these traits could be learned behaviors, it is also quite likely that the way they walk is dictated by the shape of their feet.
Here's a fun experiment. Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Now roll your feet so that your weight is on the outside part of your feet. Next try walking with your feet pointed straight ahead. It's not very comfortable, is it? Now try rotating your hips and feet outward. Much more comfortable, isn't it? Higher arched feet tend to travel this way. Lower-arched feet travel differently. We quickly learn how to compensate how we walk to maintain a stable relationship with the ground and to be comfortable.
What Happens When We Develop Foot, Leg and Back Pain?
Since the way we walk depends on the shape of our feet, there are a number of ailments that we can develop over time. Flat feet tend to rotate the tibia and fibula (lower leg bones) internally, while higher arched feet tend to rotate the same bones externally. As those bones constantly rotate with each step, it can place added stress on the knee hip and back joints. Depending on our foot type, there can be an increased likelihood for developing common pathologies including plantar fasciitis, Morton's Neuromas, ankle sprains, shin splints, knee pain, IT Band syndrome, hip pain and back pain.
Can Orthotics Help if I Develop Foot, Leg and Back Pain?
It's quite possible. But first, if you are experiencing serious foot, leg or back pain, it is wise to visit a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist to make sure your issue is properly diagnosed. When it comes to orthotics you have many choices, but let me tell you - all orthotics are not the same. It's best to get orthotics that match your foot type, and are dispensed by someone who can evaluate and assess your needs properly.
Orthotics come in all shapes, sizes and price ranges. Some can be found at the grocery store, and are generally of low quality, inexpensive and break down quickly. There are some mid-range orthotics that can last up to a year that range around $60 in price. Custom orthotics are made from a cast impression of your feet and can range between $300-$600.
In my next blog post, I am going to talk about a discovery I came across last year. The QuadraStep System orthotics deliver for many people the benefits of a custom orthotic for half the price of customs.