From the ground up – What does your ‘foot posture’ tell us?
How does your foot posture affect your whole posture? Let us explain…
The foot is such a complex structure, with 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Good foot health is imperative, as some foot conditions can lead to a range of problems further up the body.
Our feet carry a lot of load every day – not only our body weight walking from A to B, but any existing loads we place on the body too. For example, a school backpack or a work briefcase. They also help keep us balanced and supported when moving around.
How can our foot health affect other body parts?
Poor foot posture when standing and walking/running can put excess strain further up the body – in our knees, hamstrings, glutes and more often than not, our lower back. This can also predispose us to injury.
Balance – Foot posture is linked with balance, so if you have poor foot posture, it can change the way the body distributes pressure and weight. This causes us to have instability when walking and ultimately lead to loss of balance and falls.
If you have any type of foot condition – bunions/weak ankles/heel pain – you’re more than likely changing your gait and compensating for this to avoid the pain. This compensation can cause further changes in your mechanics and again, put excess stress and strain on your knees, hips and back.
Foot posture is also associated with how the body absorbs shock from our everyday activity. If we have poor foot posture, we may not have the ability to absorb this shock, leading to overload on certain muscles and tendons in the foot, ankles, knees and hips.
How to correct foot posture:
1. Ensure safe and supportive footwear suited to your foot type and activity. If you are unsure or would like advice on the right footwear to fit your lifestyle and activities, please see our podiatrist.
2. Ensure your intrinsic and extrinsic muscle strength is being well trained – see our wonderful team of exercise physiologists for tips on how to incorporate this into your daily exercise.
3. Custom foot orthotics – to improve base of support, mechanics and redistribute soft tissue pressures to not only absorb shock but to take pressure off tissues that are fatiguing as a result of your foot posture. Our podiatrist can assess you foot posture and the way you walk to determine what type of orthotic support will work for you.