E4 Body Clinic

Articles

How problems with feet can cause other
problems such as knee, hip and back pain

Our feet have to do a very unforgiving and tiring job every single day. Think about how much load they are required to support just to allow us to stand, let alone the weight they have to bear for us to walk, or worse run.

The feet are a remarkable structure, made up of 26 bones, 33 joints and roughly 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments and are required to carry our weight around all day long. They are even expected to do this every day without even complaining.

As we walk or run, the bones in our feet are designed to flatten out to enable us to absorb the impact and to help us conform to the different terrain we are treading on. As we go further into the step, the bones of the feet re-lock to form an arch.

The problems arise however when too much impact is absorbed by the feet, such as long distance runners or people who spend time hiking, as this can cause the ankle bones (The Tarsals) to ‘jam up’ and the arch to fall, especially the bone known as the navicular. This will not only then affect the feet but also the rest of the body such as the ankles, knees, hips and lower back because they have to compensate accordingly for a collapsed arch and jammed bones.

This will then affect the way we as humans are specifically designed to walk, which is to land on the heel first, roll through to the middle of the foot and to spring off from the big toe. When the arch collapses and the tarsals jam up, it usually causes people to then walk differently by landing on the inside of the foot and if these feet problems aren’t addressed and are left untreated, after a period of time, will cause a change in our alignment. This will therefore have a direct impact on the rest of the body starting with the ankles/knees because they are all connected together (cause and effect theory).

So adaptions are made in order for the body to compensate to these changes and the longer this is left untreated then the more complicated it becomes to correct.


In order to fix these problems the first thing of course is to address the feet as these are the cause. To do this the feet need to be loosened, the tarsals need to be freed (with massage/acupuncture, or both) and the arch needs to be worked so the feet are supple and springy to allow the feet to once again be able to absorb the impact correctly without causing any problems to either the feet themselves or the rest of the body.


Prevention is obviously better than cure and in order to achieve this, feet suppleness has to be maintained. Regular massage is the ideal way to keep the feet in good condition and is essential for keen runners/hikers etc.

Self help is also very important and of course easy and practical to do. By using something such as a rolling pin to roll the feet over helps maintain a springy arch and keep the tarsals in good condition for absorbing impact that cannot be avoided.  

The symptoms caused by the feet problems would also however need to be addressed as well, which are the adaptions that the body has created over time such as the ankle, knee, hip and lower back issues. In order to do this, the muscular skeletal alignment needs to be addressed through physical therapy/manipulation techniques and also massage/cupping therapy. The quicker these problems are treated, the easier they are to correct, as the body would have less time to make adaptions, which it becomes used to.


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