Did you know your can prevent or reduce acute and chronic pain throughout the entire body merely by taking care of your feet? Your feet are the gateway to what is known as the kinetic chain. The kinetic chain is what the National Academy of Sports Medicine defines as the relationship or connection between your nerves, muscles and bones. In other words, how you walk/run (correctly or incorrectly) determines how your muscles, bones, and nerves respond to that stress. Since your body is linked together, your feet can be the cause of pain in your knees, hips, back, and even your neck. Approximately 24% of adults have foot ailments, and the prevalence increases with age.
The first step and most obvious way to help is your footwear. Proper footwear should: smooth out gait inefficiencies, be flexible and durable, provide shock absorption, protect and adapt to uneven terrain, control motion, and prevent injury. When selecting footwear you should consider all of these factors, especially with store bought shoes. Footwear can be customized to the specifications and needs of the individual, often times through a foot specialist or Podiatrist. In addition to footwear, an individual should also consider getting fitted for a custom orthotic. Orthotics are shoe inserts which support and align the foot and lower extremities, and are usually formed by making a plaster mold of the foot. Non-custom orthotics can also be found in foot/shoe stores but are generally not as effective as custom made orthotics. Ideally, orthotics should improve balance, re-align anatomical structures, control bio-mechanical function, accommodate foot deformities, and re-distribute external and internal forces.
Foot pain, particularly as it relates to shoes, footwear and arthritis-related disorders may be an important modifiable factor. Emerging research suggests that there may be a significant role for foot orthotics and footwear in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis of the hip, knee and foot. Bio-mechanical evidence indicates that foot orthotics and specialized footwear may change muscle activation (muscles we use when we walk) and gait patterns (how we walk) to reduce the stress placed on our joints.
Mac Juvette, Athletic Trainer
Union University Graduate – B.S in Athletic Training
Mac has been with Memphis Orthopaedic since 2013 where he currently serves as an ATC to LeMoyne-Owen College and local high schools in Tipton County including Munford High School. He has a passion for serving the youth and local community with a dedication to providing care and assistance to the injured and the healthy.