You will never believe how many times I have heard clients say "I've got bad feet"! The human foot is a complex structure that functions as a shock absorbing mechanism and allows humans to achieve impossible feats. From strength training, power lifting, to high speed and ultra marathon running, the foot is the foundation of the human. It is important to examine why such a complex system evolved in the first place. Was it so that we would have to wear complicated shoes to "support" the said mechanism? In nature usually the simplicity is king. It is highly likely that the foot evolved in such a way so that you would not need a shoe at all! In fact this is the truth.
All of the shoe marketing these days is fooling us into believing that our feet are somehow inferior and need to be supported in many complicated ways, when in fact the biggest problems I see with clients suffering from foot pain, come from the shoes they wear! To simplify the issues that take on many faces in the grand scheme of painful feet, shoes that force the foot into an unnatural position will inevitably distort the foot leading to severe problems given enough time. To be specific, narrow/pointy toes, lifted heels and arch support shoes are to blame.
Pointed toe shoes lead to the migration and distortion of the big toe and push the large joint medially, eventually causing a bone formation known as a #bunion. Once the joint is distorted, bone and cartilage forms around it in order to strengthen the weakened area. This is when your podiatrist will recommend surgery to try to shave down the bone. The best solution to this is to never begin wearing narrow toes shoes and anything the applies pressure on the toes, driving them inward. If you already have begun the distortion, there are a few tools available that I can cover in a session and explain in greater detail. I can work on correcting the existing pattern through structural bodywork and recommend a few brands of shoes that have a wide toe box as well as tools that realign toes.
Lifted heel shoes, when given enough time or milage, will prevent the full extension of the calf muscle group and cause it to shorten thereby creating pain and what we call achilles tendinitis. By blocking the full range of motion, we train the body to live within the new confines of the shoe world.
this can transfer into #plantarfasciitis and appear as other "conditions" depending on how your body compensates. To remedy this we need to release the hardened tissues in the calf and restore mobility, but also remove the impetus that created the problem to begin with. Again coming back to the footwear we choose. Since nature is best, the least lift/cushion and most flexibility is best.
Now onto "arch support"! With a name like this, it sounds like a great innovation and may even feel good initially as it compresses the arch muscles and gives you a sort of massage feeling. In the long term however, this can be a nail in the coffin of your foot health, so buyer beware! All the arch support that you are getting (likely to deal with previously mentioned conditions) is actually going to create more problems than you had to begin with. By immobilizing the shock absorbing function of the foot and given enough time, sometimes only a few months, your lovely foot muscles will atrophy and the arch structure will start to slump. Once this begins to happen, it becomes increasingly difficult to restore the arch and rebuild what nature gave you. If you happen to go to the podiatrist due to the resultant knee, ankle or hip pain, they might recommend a surgery that will put you out of work and cost thousands of dollars! My experience with this is that they will give you an orthotic and almost matter of fact tell you that surgery is next. Whether they know they caused it or not, the podiatrist knows that surgery is the next step following the first intervention. For this reason it is best to throw out your #achsupport and begin simple rehabilitative techniques along side a bodywork protocol to reverse the damage and strengthen the weakened muscles.
If you are struggling with any of these issues, please schedule a structural session today and begin your recovery. We offer customized home health protocols to retrain your body to do what it was meant to naturally.