WHEN DID YOUR FEET BECOME SO IMPORTANT?
Our feet are our foundation for our entire body. One of the first impacts your body endures every day is your foot hitting the ground. Foot health has been talked about and practiced more in the recent years; however, do you actually know the full importance of your foot? While we know it is important to practice foot health, we need to know the role the foot plays in the health of our entire body.
What is the role of the foot?
Obviously, our feet are the key points of contact between the ground and our bodies, but what else does it do? We know that there’s a great deal of research available discussing the difference between barefoot, regular shoes or structure shoes, and it leaves everyone asking…what is the best option for me? The obvious answer is….it depends!! But, knowing how to examine your feet, when to seek help and what signs to look out for, can help guide you to knowing what is best for your feet!
- Arch height: There are two main factors that play into the arch of your foot. First is the genetic component. Some are just born with high arches, some with low. Another factor is previous injuries or history (sport, walking barefoot vs high heels, etc.)- Compare your arch heights, is one taller, lower?
– Are the arches in pain every time you walk or exercise?
- Mobility of joints: There are many joints in the foot such as the ankle, midfoot and forefoot (body of foot to the toes). Each joint requires movement to absorb shock and allow the foot to form on the uneven surface it is on.
– Practice walking barefoot, do you feel your whole foot splay to touch the ground?
These questions are a great starting point to check if your feet are indeed in need of more attention! If your feet have noticeable arches, or have uneven arches, then the best option is to find a supportive shoe with increased arch support and soft cushioning sole for the best comfort. However, if you notice your arches are closer to a flat position and you have some pain, try a low-rise arch support shoe to help your body get a more natural curve to the center of your foot.
Foot mobility is best treated by your PT in order to improve the mobility of the foot safely. A Physical Therapist can carefully find the proper amount of mobility needed specifically for you!
When you do not take your foot health into account, malalignment and pain may travel up to the knees, hips and low back causing further issues. By improving the alignment and mobility of your feet your body will have the best opportunity to reduce risk of foot or ankle injury and reduce the force at the knees and hips with every step to optimize your overall physical health!
Take steps now towards better foot health to ensure every future step is towards a pain free life!