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San Clemente Journal

Are Your Feet Supporting You Properly? Forming a Good Foundation

Feb 01, 2008 05:11PM ● By Don Kindred
by Dr. Bradley Shapero

If your mother ever told you to “stand up straight” she was right! Posture is very important to your overall health and if you are experiencing frequent back pain, joint pain, or headaches, your feet may be involved.   

Proper posture is needed to support the body. Postural misalignments or imbalances cause a breakdown of the musculoskeletal structure. This can cause pain in the ligaments, tendons, muscle fibers, cartilage and bones. Proper balance and coordination between movements of the lower extremities, pelvis and spine are essential for stabilizing posture. This alteration in posture can lead to something known as leg length discrepancy. This is an alteration of the lower body posture that results in one leg appearing shorter than the other due to faulty alignment.

Research has shown that less than one-half inch difference can create enough stress on the spine to cause accelerated degeneration of the spine as well as the hips. Research also reveals that even a difference of less than a quarter of an inch can create back pain and knee pain, as well as hip pain. This difference can greatly increase the risk of injury by altering the stress on the structures or in changing the balance of an individual making him or her more off balance. This increases injuries to the ankle and lower legs such as shin splints and cramping, and also increases hip and lower back pain.

The difference in the length of the legs can come about through trauma early in life which affects the growth, causes a fracture to that area and could result in surgery. However this only accounts for a very small percentage the cases. The overwhelming majority of the time this alteration in length is not physical but functional. This means that the leg is not actually shorter; it only appears shorter due to postural imbalances and the bodies attempt at adapting. As you walk the pelvis moves through a gyrating figure eight pattern. This type of movement intentionally raises the side of the pelvis as the foot you are pushing off with which causes the leg to be lifted slightly during what is known as the swing phase of stepping. This motion keeps the foot from dragging on the ground during locomotion. When the legs are balanced the forces of walking, running etcetera are evenly distributed, however when the posture shifts and is held in an abnormal position it puts tremendous forces on the body that are frequently unnoticed until symptoms arise. 

In addition to those mentioned above, another area one might not think of has to do with diseases that affect circulation. One such disease which we routinely help is Diabetes Type I and II. Diabetes causes lower extremity problems because it creates problems with, or related to, poor circulation, skin breakdown and difficulty healing.  

Diabetes can also cause nerve damage (neuropathy) in the feet, which allows poor shoe fit, excessive pressure and friction, and even injuries that go unnoticed. The eventual result can be skin ulcerations, infections (which do not heal easily), and in some cases, the loss of a limb. Over 60% of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in diabetics. Spinal Pelvic Stabilizers help ease some of the stress from the feet and aid in circulation.

For many conditions and for general overall health moderate walking is a beneficial and recommended physical activity for those with back problems, circulation problems, weight problems and much more, including stress reduction. People who miss work due to a back injury or health condition should walk three times a day for at least 20 minutes per session. However, inadequate spinal support, faulty lower extremity alignment, and/or poor shock absorption must be addressed if one is going to enjoy and benefit from a walking program.

Your feet absorb a tremendous amount of impact every day as one walks about. A change in the arches of the feet can have a rather dramatic impact, affecting posture, ligaments and muscles. When imbalance happens it is vital to support these structures and restore balance before permanent damage sets in. This correction is done by the use of Spinal Pelvic Stabilizers which are the only orthotics designed to support all three arches of the foot. By balancing the arches of the foot, stabilizers align the ankles, knees and pelvis to provide a balanced foundation for the spine to rest on. Along with chiropractic adjustments, stabilizers will help improve your overall structural alignment, improve posture and restore health. b