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Posted on 02-16-2016

The importance of the feet, which serve as the foundation of the body, is well-known.  The feet are the only part of our body that is in direct contact with the ground working specifically to create balance, locomotion and stability so that we can stand, walk and move our up-right body without falling over. 

When assessing the structural balance and posture of the body, the first place we look is at the feet. Simply saying a person has “flat feet” or “hammer toes” doesn’t explain the underlying problem or reason for those conditions.  Our body will always specifically adapt to any imposed demand we put upon it and the feet are often one of the key areas of that adaptation.  Pregnancy is an example of this adaptive process.  Most women who have gone through a pregnancy will agree that some interesting changes occur to the feet during a pregnancy.  The average woman, during a pregnancy, will need to increase the size of the shoes they are wearing by 1 shoe size or more.  This is caused by two factors that all women experience during a pregnancy; a release or change in the body hormones and a very big change in body posture, weight and biomechanics caused by the addition of the growing baby.  As the baby grows during the pregnancy, the mom’s posture and balance also change.  The adaptation to this is that the feet are forced to change to accommodate the new body posture by dropping the arches slightly which cause the feet to widen and lengthen.  This isn’t a foot problem but rather a normal and healthy adaptation for the pregnant Mom to help her better balance and move.

Our body will also adapt to other demands we put on it including our choices in footwear, how we sit, how we hold our posture, what surfaces we walk on, what hobbies or activities we take part in, our body weight, our history of bodily injuries, and our nutritional choices.  All of these will also affect the feet in one way or another.  Remember, the body functions and works as a whole, not as a group of individual parts each doing their own thing.  When a person has foot pain, looking only at the foot for the cause and for the treatment is a big mistake.

Orthotic inserts are usually one of the most common treatment methods for foot pain or biomechanical foot problems causing issues such as plantar fasciitis.  However, be aware, not all orthotics work the same.  How the orthotics are molded or casted as well as the materials used to create the orthotic can vary greatly and will have differing effects upon the whole body posture and biomechanics.  Remember, fixing one problem by creating ten more is not an ideal treatment method.  Orthotics work best only when both the balance and the stability of the whole body are taken into consideration.  Effective treatment for all foot pain must also consider muscle balance and coordination as it pertains to overall body posture.  Performing specific postural exercises along with restoring alignment to the joints of the body are also important for making long term changes.  Addressing the inflammation which allows for healing of the tissues is also important with plantar fasciitis and foot pain which can be very effectively treated with Class IV Laser therapy. 

In all cases of foot pain, remember to always look for the cause rather than just treat the pain.  By effectively addressing the cause, the problem can be better corrected so that you can quickly get back to living the lifestyle you desire.                        

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