Our feet are great, aren’t they? Helping to keep us upright, allowing us to sprint at speed or happily plod along. But feet have a dark side too. Because they’re such a hardworking part of our body, they can be prone to problems and though they’re all the way down near the floor, our feet can cause us nagging pain reaching all the way to the tops our heads.
Remember that old song “Dem Bones”, the one about the heel bone being connected to the ankle bone, the hip bone being connected to the back bone and the neck bone to the head bone? Alright, knowing the words won’t exactly help you pass a medical school exam, but it does give a pretty good idea about the way the body is connected. It stands to reason then that a problem in your toe bone (or phalange, to use the correct term) could manifest itself in knee pain, hip pain, back pain, neck pain and even headaches.
So what are some of the problems with the feet that could cause the knock-on effects of pain higher-up?
- Fallen arches – This is also known as “flat feet” and it’s remarkably common. Fallen arches are caused by loose tendons in the foot which can result from ageing, sports injuries or general wear and tear. Are the insides of your shoes particularly worn around the heel? It could be a sign that you have flat feet.
- Plantar fasciitis – This can often be felt as a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. Your plantar fascia acts like a sort of shock absorber and with stretching and tension, it can develop little tears which, if not looked after, can result in irritation. This is especially common among runners.
- Heel spurs – Better known as the thing that kept a certain orange, presidential baby from going into the army. A heel spur is a calcium deposit that can often result from plantar fasciitis. Like fasciitis, it can be caused by a number of factors including age, sports injuries, wear and tear resulting from exercise or being on your feet all day.
One of the main things that can help prevent and ease foot conditions (and hence problems all the way up your body) is looking after your gait, that is, the way your walk and the way your feet sit when they’re under load. So, how do you go about taking care of that?
Here in our clinic we use a TOG GaitScan machine, a seriously high-tech piece of kit that, when patients walk on it, creates two and three-dimensional images of the foot using over 4,000 sensors. The information obtained from the GaitScan allows us to craft custom orthotics which fit inside your shoes and can help correct imbalances and negative tendencies in the way your stand, walk, run or move.
If you’re experiencing any of the following: arch/heel pain; knee, hip, back or neck pain; Achilles tendonitis; bunions or hammer toes; shin splints; runner’s knee or plantar fasciitis, you could be a prime candidate for a set of bespoke orthotics. Why not get in touch with us? It could be the first step towards getting painlessly back on your feet!