When you see your chiropractor for some sort of back pain you wouldn’t expect them to look at your feet would you? However little do people realise that the feet are crucial in the overall structure and function of your spine.
Your feet are the foundation to your whole body! Most of us have to stand on them every day and this foundation has a direct link to the way your spine works. Let’s look at it like this, if you think about the foundation of a building you would expect that it would need to be level in order for the building to be sturdy and straight right? What would happen if part of that foundation started to collapse even by an inch or so? The building above it would be affected, maybe not very visibly at first but things will start to change. And then if that building foundation continues to collapse you start noticing some other changes. Maybe you would notice a crack in the ceiling? A door not closing as easily as it used to? A window being jammed? What if you did not fix that foundation? It wouldn’t get any better, actually it would just keep getting worse until the whole building collapsed. It is the same with our body. If the arches in our feet collapse initially we might not feel anything but over time we may get symptoms such as foot pain, knee pain and even back pain!
So how do your feet work?
The foot is a very complex region of your body due to the amount of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles in quite a little space. In each foot and ankle complex there are 26 bones (1/4 of all bones in the body), 33 joints, more than 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons as well as blood vessels, nerves, skin and soft tissue structures. The structure of the foot produces three arches which allow the foot to move in the most biomechanically efficient way possible. There are two longitudinal arches (up and down your foot) and one anterior arch (across your foot). All of these arches are supported by a different intricate group of muscles and ligaments. When all of these arches are holding tight and supporting the foot the motion in your foot is able to remain at a high level of functioning and you have a good stable foundation to your body.
Our current lifestyle has meant that our foot biomechanics do not have to work like they used to. If you think about back when we were hunter gatherers we walked around bare foot over uneven terrain and through different landscapes. Now what do we do? We put on our flat shoes walk on flat concrete paths, on flat timber floors or carpet and if we are barefoot it is usually on mowed grass (which is flat). The only time we really cause our foot to need to work properly is when we walk barefoot on the beach (which if you live in Canberra is very rarely!). So what happens to the feet is a phenomenon we call pronation or simply put flat feet. Now interestingly enough flat feet always occur bilaterally (both feet) and asymmetrical (at different rates). So now not only do we have a collapsing foundation but we also have it occurring at different rates between the two foundations. What does this mean? Well basically and even more unstable foundation.
Ok but how does this affect my back? When our feet pronate it causes a chain reaction up our body. Our knee internally rotates (almost like knocked knee), our femur or the big bone in our thigh internally rotates, the pelvis on the side of the most pronation drops and the opposite shoulder drops to counteract the pelvis all in the aim of keeping eyes level. This causes twisting and bending in the spine which can lead to areas of misalignment and poor motion which in the end may lead to pain!
So what can I do about it?
To fix the building you need to fix the foundation therefore to fix your back pain it is a good idea to check and correct your foundation. At Hawker Chiropractic we do this by using a 3D body scanner which accurately takes an image of your feet and identifies asymmetries within them using arch height mapping. This technology is also able to show us how the feet affect the rest of the body. After analysing these images we are then able to prescribe you with a custom made orthotic which is made for your feet and your feet only! These then provide you with the stable foundation you need. We also make sure we get the whole body moving correctly so adjustments may be performed to your spine as well as your hip, knees and ankles.
If stabilising your foundation is something you can see would help your overall health call us today to make an appointment with our professional team.