When Feet Fall Out of Line: Faulty Biomechanics
We often think about foot health, or lung health, or heart health, or any type of physical well-being as separate entities, almost as if these are not all part of the same body. But the truth is the health of your feet is just one of the many important – and interconnected – pieces to your overall health.
Indeed, everything in your body is connected, and every part of your body is dependent on the others in order to achieve the best possible level of fitness and health. What’s more, the condition of your feet can often tell a lot about the rest of your body. It turns out they can be a surprisingly effective diagnostic tool for identifying issues you may be experiencing in other areas, too!
So are your feet trying to tell you more than you realize? Are there any signs of future risks?
That’s what we are here to talk about. Keep reading to find out how to best “communicate” with your feet – because they are talking, and you should definitely listen to what they have to say.
Your Feet – The Foundation to Your Body
Your feet are the foundation to the rest of your body, and you need them for essentially everything you do in life. They account for 25 percent of all bones in your body, they have over 60 joints, and more than 200 ligaments, muscles, and tendons. With all that going on, it’s needless to say that a lot can go wrong.
And as we already mentioned, any problem with your feet will eventually affect the rest of your body, too. Some of the most obvious ways in which this can happen are found in:
- Your posture. Poor posture can occur as a result of how you stand and walk, and when these behaviors go uncorrected for too long, they can lead to foot, knee, hip, and back pain.
- Your body alignment. Conditions like flat feet can result in poor alignment of your body. When your feet no longer have the proper arch support they need, there is nothing to absorb the shock that comes with each and every step you take. Over time, the stress will travel up your body and be placed on joints, like the knees and hips.
- Your organ function. Your feet actually help influence the health of your organs, too. Biomechanical misalignments can shift the position of organs and the structures that support them, potentially impacting function. Of course, if pain is keeping you from exercising, this is another, more indirect way that misaligned feet can be directly correlated with reduced health.
A good example that encompasses all three of these factors is how some people have one leg that is shorter than the other. This not only affects their walking gait, feet, and spine, but it can also affect their ribs, internal organ locations, and how their bones are structured throughout their bodies.
And that’s not all! There are many other ways foot conditions can affect other areas of your body (and vice versa).
Foot Conditions That Affect Biomechanics
Other conditions that can also affect your feet (and vice versa) include peripheral neuropathy and peripheral artery disease. These are both systemic conditions often associated with diabetes. For many people, symptoms will begin in the feet and toes first – numbness, cold toes, discoloration, muscle weakness, and cramping in the legs can all be signs that your body is suffering from one of these nerve issues.
Here’s another example: If blood vessels are narrow and clogged in your feet, there is a good chance they are becoming narrow in other parts of your body as well. All of this may predict heart attacks or strokes in the future.
Think also about the problem of dry and flaking skin around the heels or balls of your feet. Yes, this could merely be an isolated incident, but it could also be the early signs of a thyroid issue. And that could affect your blood pressure, your nerve health, and your metabolism.
Even something as basic as mild foot pain can create bigger problems. For instance, misalignments in the feet don’t tend to stay isolated to that area – our entire skeleton has to compensate for issues with its foundation, and that can result in knee, hip, and even lower back pain.
Diving a little deeper, if your feet hurt, you are probably not going to be very motivated to do a lot of walking or exercising. Consequentially, inactivity can then have a snowball effect on the entire state of your physical well-being.
So what are you to do when your feet “fall out of line”?
Most Common Solution – Custom Orthotics
Custom orthotics are designed to counteract biomechanical deficiencies in the feet and ankles. They provide the exact amount of cushioning and support your feet need to stay comfortable throughout the day, and help promote proper alignment and lessen fatigue, giving you a perfect fit that supports the unique curves and dips in your feet.
Orthotics can be customized to your feet, are affordable, and will fit into your shoes comfortably. And though they may not solve everyone’s foot problems, they are a great place to start for relieving foot pain, leg pain, and lower back pain caused by misaligned feet.
Another vital aspect of caring for your health – by putting your feet first – is visiting a podiatrist regularly. Here at Waco Foot & Ankle, we are equipped with the best tools available to help you overcome most – if not all – foot conditions that are causing problems throughout the rest of your body.
Just give our Woodway office a call at (254) 776-6995 to schedule an appointment today, or simply fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will reach out to you.