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What is Pronation?

When a foot is severely “pronated,” it means its arches have fallen and the foot is flat. Flat feet are less shock-absorbent, and make for a less stable “base” for everything above—the bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons of the entire body. They can also:

  • Shift the entire body out of alignment
  • Cause aches and pains in the feet, knees, hips, neck and/or spine
  • Lead to injury and problems like shin splints, Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis
  • Women with flat feet are 50% more likely than those without to have low back pain
  • Up to 1/3 of people suffer from flat feet

 

Causes of Pronation

The connective tissue, called the plantar fascia, on the underside of the foot is critical to maintaining the foot’s healthy arched shape. Injury and certain health conditions can cause the fascia to stretch out and flatten, but so can everyday, ongoing stressors like walking and standing. Once the fascia stretches out, it is unable to “spring back.” With the foot structure flattened, the body’s very foundation is in trouble.

Treatment

  • Extremity adjusting to ensure proper positioning of bones and joints
  • Functional orthotics in every pair of shoes for pronation control, support and comfort
  • Rolling feet on a tennis ball to help soften foot musculature and connective tissue

How Your Feet Can Cause Leg & Back Pain

Problems with your feet can affect your entire body, from your legs to your back, your neck, and even your shoulders. The entire human body is connected, which is why one affliction can easily affect a seemingly unrelated part of the body.

Oftentimes, pain and discomfort don’t directly relate to flat feet, but rather to how they affect your gait (your stride or the way you walk). Some people have one leg that’s shorter than the other (usually because of scoliosis, an unusually curved spine); this would affect their gait and affect their feet and spine. That can affect their ribs, internal organ locations, and how their bones are structured all over their bodies.

Foot Movement

The way you walk is dependent on the shape of your feet and the shoes you wear. These factors can affect your entire body over the years. For example, if you wear unsupportive high heels every day, your feet become susceptible to hammertoes, bunions, calluses, and corns. The rest of your body may develop joint problems, back problems, stiffness, fatigue, and strain.

Wearing supportive shoes distributes weight evenly when you land and encourages a stable gait. People with flat feet often walk on the sides of their feet or have balance issues, so it’s essential to wear supportive shoes.

How Feet Affect The Legs

Your feet are connected to your legs by tendons and ligaments, some of which connect the arch of your foot to the back of your calf. Problems with your feet can affect your lower legs because of this, but the way you walk may also play a part.

The human body is pretty amazing and can be influenced or manipulated. The body has been bound and reshaped in a number of ways across cultures in history, including:

  • Binding the feet to make or keep them small.
  • Corsetry; using a corset to manipulate the body’s shape into an hourglass figure.
  • Elongating the forehead through binding, practiced most famously by the Mayans.
  • Lip stretching.

It’s a little scary because there could be a massive number of health issues that stem from things like these, but people do it anyway. Consistently wearing high heels or shoes that are too tight can cause other, less desired types of reshaping like hammertoes, claw toes, bunions, and corns, and the way a person walks can affect the way the feet, legs, and back function.

Some milder problems include:

  • Stiffness
  • Soreness
  • Weakness in the muscles
  • Leg pain
  • Plantar fasciitis

Prolonged or continuous strain can cause permanent problems.

Foot and Back Pain

Everything is connected, which is why your feet can cause so many problems all over your body. If you have a foot deformity, you change the way you walk to avoid pain subconsciously. Have you ever noticed that if one of your toes hurts, you avoid hurting it more while you take each step by limping or walking differently on that foot? Usually this is temporary, but for someone with a foot deformity, this adjustment in gait can be permanent.

Having flat foot in particular can cause misalignment with the ankle, which causes joints to connect differently, which can cause misalignment in the knee joint. That can affect your hips, which also affects the way you walk. That affects the spine, especially your lower back. It makes sense that this could happen… our feet are actually pretty delicate and our bodies are complex.

The Easiest Solution: Orthotics (Custom Shoe Inserts)

Orthotics, or custom insoles can be customized to your feet, are affordable, and will fit into your shoes subtly. Though they won’t solve everyone’s foot pain problems, they are a great place to start for relieving foot pain, leg pain, and lower back pain caused by your feet.

Consult with a Shane Boroditsky, D.C., for  possible orthotics, which are usually custom-made. Though store-bought orthotics may work temporarily, custom orthotic inserts are built to last and customized to your feet, your specific foot problems, and your gait.

If you’d like to see whether custom orthotics are right for you, please give us a call today at Minnesota Chiropractic and Rehabilitation! 763.390.1323