Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Feet First

Like most things in life, a strong and balanced foundation is crucial and this also applies to the human body. The solution to some of the body's most nagging ailments could quite simply be resolved by wearing the right type of shoes for your type of body and its mechanics.

Pronation is the term used to describe the normal motion of the foot when it strikes the ground during the gait cycle. Normal weight distribution travels from the lateral side of the heel (subtalar) to the medial (talocalcaneonavicular) side of the ball of the foot.  Knowing if one is an “over pronator" or "supinator” is valuable information in diagnosing other areas of injury, as well as choosing the correct footwear and/or foot supports.

Over pronation occurs when the feet roll inward excessively, creating a flat foot which can lead to a variety of injuries, especially in runners, including:
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Anterior compartment syndrome
  • Bunions (Hallux valgus)
  • Patello-femoral pain syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Shin splints
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
For a supinator (under pronator), the foot will not roll far enough in a medial direction during the gait cycle, with excessive weight put on the baby toe (metatarsal) towards the lateral side of the foot, and therefore not allow the foot to provide efficient shock absorption. Extreme supination can lead to:
  • Ankle sprains
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Shin splints 
  • Stress fractures of the tibia, calcaneus and metatarsals
In both excessive cases of pronation, the wearing patterns on the soles of the shoes can say a lot about how your feet are striking the ground during gait. Depending on the severity of the correction required, the proper shoe or insole can straighten things out. There are also custom orthotics, specially fitted devices, that can be made for sports and dress shoes.

If the feet are out of line, so will everything else be. So don’t let misalignment create unnecessary wear and tear on the body.

For more information on biomechanics, please visit SIRC.

1 comment:

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