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The Connection Between Your Feet and Spine

Author: Glebe’s Healthcare Team Date: July 4, 2017 Chiropractic, Orthotics

Are Your Feet Causing Your Back Pain?

glebe chiropractic clinic + massage therapy centre feet spine connection blog post

We are connected from head to toe, via joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia. Through movement, our body forms different chains, known as kinetic chains. A kinetic chain represents the concept that body parts have an effect on one another during movement. When one joint is in motion, a chain of events occurs in segments above and below. Nothing acts alone. Therefore, when addressing an injury or pain, we must consider all parts and their relationship to one another.

Our feet are amazing! Did you know that the human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and tendons? The 52 bones in our feet make up about a quarter of our skeleton. The average person will walk over 160 000 kilometers in their lifetime. That’s more than four trips around the world! Women experience foot problems four times more than men. That is largely due to poorly fitting footwear including high heels.

Our feet provide stability and mobility. They transmit our weight to the ground when standing, walking, running, dancing and jumping. Our feet help us maintain our balance. They are our main source of transportation from point A to point B. Our feet are our foundation. Like the foundation of a house, they support everything above them. Therefore, changes in our foundation can affect the entire body.

More than 75% of the population will experience foot problems in their lifetime. Approximately 80% of the general adult population will be affected by low back pain at some point in their life. So what’s the connection?

If a small problem develops in our feet, our body will react and respond. We will adapt the way we walk, the way we run, and how we stand. Altered gait and biomechanics can cause more stress on our low back. This creates the prime environment for further dysfunction and pain.

Movements of the hip, knee, ankle and foot joints work together, in opposite directions. If one of these hinges becomes limited or too mobile, joints above and below compensate. This can lead to negative impacts along the chain. For example, if we have restriction in an ankle, our knee, hip and/or low back will try to make up for that loss of movement. The joints, muscles and tendons, and ligaments above the ankles will start to work too hard which can result in injury and pain.

So what can you do? Your chiropractor at GLEBE Chiropractic Clinic + Massage Therapy Centre will help you determine if your back pain is really coming from your feet. During your consultation, your chiropractor will ask you relevant questions to get to the bottom of the problem. A gait assessment and examination from head to toe will be performed. During your report of findings, your chiropractor will discuss the findings from the consultation and exam as well as care recommendations. If your feet are part of the problem, those recommendations may include footwear advice and custom foot orthotics.

Custom foot orthotics are medical devices that are custom made ‘foot supports’ designed uniquely for your feet and your activities.  They fit comfortably in your shoes to optimize the alignment and correction of the foot function and therefore support your body’s foundation. There are many options when it comes to orthotics to meet your sport, work or leisure needs. A foam foot cast is done with your chiropractor on site at GLEBE Chiropractic Clinic + Massage Therapy Centre. Within approximately two weeks, your custom foot orthotics are ready for pick up. Your chiropractor will go through specific recommendations when it comes to wearing your orthotics. Most extended healthcare plans include some coverage for custom orthotics.  Please check your health care plan for the amount of coverage and if they require a medical doctor’s prescription.

By properly taking care of your feet, the rest of your body will thank you.  Happy feet make for a happy, healthy spine.

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