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  • Northwoods Health Centre

Your feet are connected to your backbone

Remember that song: “Them bones” that we used to sing in school?

“Your knee bones’s connected to your hip bone your hip bone’s connected to your back bone....etc.”

Well your chiropractor would tell you that for the most part, the lyrics are correct!

The lesson for today is to remember to think outside of the box.

That is, we are trained to think that if our back is aching the problem must then originate from our back, right? Not necessarily true.

The feet are a prime example. If you have flat feet (or extremely low arches in your feet) chances are you may have lower back pain.

For many individuals they find that they have fallen arches in their feet, knees that almost knock together, hips that flare and a lower back that sways forward.

With orthotics (custom made arch supports) in their shoes, foot, knee, hip and back postures and alignment improves.

Our feet are designed for walking, standing and supporting our body weight. If you are an athlete, you know that your feet take a lot of abuse. That is why it is important to wear sport specific shoes.

For example, if you are playing tennis (fantastic sport) then wear tennis shoes because they are designed to support the constant “stop and go” action of this sport.

Just like an arch in a bridge, the arches in our feet are designed to support your body weight. Flat feet, or collapsed arches can cause a lot of grief, not just in your feet, but in your knees, hips, ankles and spine.

Obvious symptoms of foot problems include pain, blisters and bio-mechanical dysfunction (such as favouring one foot, or inability to evenly weight bear on your feet).

Foot pain can be simply due to improper fitting foot wear (ladies in pointy high heels and men in cowboy boots please raise your hands). This causes muscle cramping and/or sprains and strains not only in the feet but in the legs as well.

So, if your feet are cramping, chances are that your legs are next. This can, in turn, alter the way you walk and create even more significant stresses on the joints in your knees, legs, hips and spine (remember the song).

When your foot suffers, your whole body can suffer! Did you know that there are 26 bones and 30 joints in each of our feet?

Chiropractors, pedorthists, chiropodists, and podiatrists have extensive training in recognizing foot dysfunction and are experts in foot bio-mechanics, and proper gait (walking) analysis.

If you are troubled by chronic or recurrent foot problems you would be wise to seek advice and consultation from an expert such as a chiropractor (we are not just spine doctors).

Your chiropractor can ease your foot pain and additional bio-mechanical problems. She or he will employ diagnostic tests including gait analysis (watching the way you walk) take a thorough health history to assess the nature of your foot problem.

Range of motion, static and motion palpation (moving your feet) will also help to determine the cause of pain. Chiropractic adjustments of your feet and other areas of your body (including the spine) can restore and relieve the pain.

In addition, your chiropractor may recommend and fit you for custom made orthotics (shoe inserts). Because each foot is unique, these shoe inserts are made to uniquely fit your foot.

So be good to your feet! Wear good, clean socks and remember to tie your shoe laces! Respect them by wearing proper, comfortable shoes with custom made orthotics if needed. If you haven’t had your feet assessed yet, please do so soon.

Article by Dr.Virinderkasbia.

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