Good foot health is essential for an active life. With 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons, your feet are incredibly complex. And they serve as the foundation for your entire body in terms of support, balance, posture, and overall well-being. You can experience pain in your knees, hips and lower back when you have ongoing foot problems. Foot issues can also cause imbalance, poor posture, and even problems with organ function.
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population has at least one foot problem annually. April is National Foot Health Awareness Month… and it’s a great time for an annual foot check-up with Martin Foot and Ankle!
Healthy Feet Are the Foundation of A Healthy Body
Conditions like flat feet, hammertoe, plantar fasciitis, and more can cause a lot of pain and overcompensation in your feet and the rest of the body. Here are some of the most common ways in which your feet can affect your whole body…
Back and Joint Pain
If you have any sort of foot issue, it’s likely that you’re changing the way you walk to avoid hurting it more. You may not even be aware that this is happening. This overcompensation and misaligned walking patterns can cause back pain, because it causes your spine to become misaligned as well. Your foot is not only important to your balance, but your whole back can be affected too.
This is especially the case for people with flat feet. Flat feet cause a misalignment with the ankle and can affect your whole body - from the knees to the hips to the spine and neck. Your body will naturally compensate, causing you to walk, sit, and stand in unhealthy ways that may only make the condition worse.
Flat feet also don’t have a proper arch to absorb the shock of everyday walking, running, standing, etc. This means that your joints – especially the knees and hips - have to absorb all this shock, even though they aren’t designed to do so. Over time, this added stress can cause severe ankle, knee, and hip malfunction. Talk to one of our podiatrists today to find out what can be done about your flat feet.
Imbalance and Posture Problems
Your feet can cause imbalance and posture problems as well. When your feet aren’t properly aligned with the rest of your body, it’s easy to see that this can throw your overall balance off as well. This makes you more prone to accidental slips and falls, which could result in further injury.
Although most people don’t have perfect posture all the time, poor posture is often exaggerated for people with foot problems. When foot pain occurs, the body tries to redistribute its weight so it doesn’t fall so heavily on painful parts of the feet. This results in poor posture that, over time, becomes habitual. Correcting these issues as soon as they are discovered is the best way to avoid foot problems spiraling into a whole body issue.
In addition to bones and joints, your feet are also full of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that connect to the rest of your body. Any pain in your feet can also commonly travel into your legs. The lower legs are most commonly affected, since that is where the soft tissue is most closely connected. Calf pain, stiffness, soreness or leg muscle weakness can actually be a result of foot problems.
You may not know it but your feet make an impact on your organ health as well. Consider this… The sensory nerves and touch receptors in your feet are sending messages to your brain every second. If there’s an issue with your feet, your brain is receiving messages that there’s a problem, so it will start sending information to make adjustments throughout your body - including your organs. Your feet are intricately connected to the rest of your body in ways you’ve probably never thought of before, but can have a major impact on your life.
Check your feet NOW!
Many of us don’t give our feet the care and attention they deserve. It’s incredibly important to check your feet often. Look for flattening of your feet (which does occur with age), hammertoes, bunions, ingrown nails, nail fungus, skin disorders, or any injuries. Use a mirror to check the bottom of your feet for cracks, peeling, or dry skin. This is especially important if you are diabetic to avoid infection or a wound that becomes difficult to heal. If you see any problems at all, contact the podiatrists at Martin Foot and Ankle immediately. We can often see you the same day!
It’s easy to see that your foot health really does impact your overall health! You should always wear comfortable, supportive shoes, or get custom made orthotic insoles in order to avoid allowing your foot problems to dictate the health of the rest of your body. Please visit therightshoe.net to see the styles and options we have available.
If you encounter any type of foot or lower extremity problem, contact Martin Foot and Ankle for an appointment. You can reach our offices in Hanover, Lancaster, Lititz, York and West York by calling (717) 757-3537 or (844) 899-6961 or using our website contact form. Remember…Healthy feet are the foundation of a healthy body.