Your feet are the foundation for your entire body; they allow you to stand, walk, and run. Every day we expect our feet to take us where we want to go, support our weight and act as our body’s main shock absorbers. Your feet contain one quarter of your body’s bones – each foot has 26 bones and 19 muscles. If that foundation is not solid and balanced, your entire body is affected.

Movement at one joint affects movement at other joints, and every time you take a step it passes that imbalance all the way up your body. Over time, this imbalance can cause pain in any number of places like your knees, hips, pelvis, low back, and neck. Every time your feet hit the ground, a shock wave travels from your toes to your nose. If your feet are balanced, they can absorb much of that shock. But if they’re not in balance, the shock can cause your body additional strain…and eventually pain over time. Surprisingly, most of the time your feet don’t hurt!

When you walk, your feet go through a three-phase process known as the gait cycle. Phase one is when your foot hits the ground (heel-strike); phase two is when your whole foot is on the ground (midstance); and phase three is when you start to take the next step (toe-off). Ask me to evaluate your gait cycle. If there is a problem with your gait cycle, it will eventually create problems in your spine.

If there is not enough support from your feet or they are not balanced, your spine will feel the effects. Your spine will also be affected if your legs are uneven in length or your joints aren’t working properly. The most common foot problem is pronation, or collapsed arches, which can seriously affect your body’s ability to absorb shock.

Our spine plays a vital role in your overall health. Your spinal cord contains the nervous system, the center for all your mental activity. Problems in your spine can keep your nervous system from working as it should, which can cause you pain and discomfort. It can even weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get sick.

Many things can contribute to misalignments in your spine. Poor posture, excess weight, injuries, heavy lifting, an unhealthy diet, and improper sleeping positions are just a few causes. You may have guessed it based on what you’ve read but I’ve found the majority of spinal problems start at your feet.

I suggest flexible, custom-made orthotics. They are specifically designed to work with your active lifestyle and it’s one of the tools I use to keep patients out of my office longer because it keeps them inline. By supporting all three of your foot’s natural arches, they help to stabilize your spine. A gradual weakening of the arches often occurs naturally after years of standing, walking, and wearing shoes. The goal of stabilization is to control – not restrict – motion within your foot structure. Flexible, custom-made orthotics can enhance the structure and performance of your foot’s three functions:

  1. Support. Over time, gravity weakens the tissues and causes stress in the joints in your feet. Custom-made orthotics help reduce this stress and strain by supporting your joints correctly and reducing excessive motion.
  2. Locomotion. Each step you take creates a chain reaction in your body. Collapsed arches (pronation) are responsible for more postural problems than any other foot disorder. Flexible orthotics can help control the amount of pronation in   your feet. Come in for your complimentary foot scan to see if you could benefit from orthotics.
  3. Absorbing shock. The shock from when your heel strikes the ground creates forces five to seven times your body weight. A small amount of pronation is normal and helps absorb some of this shock directly. When you have too much pronation in your feet, it becomes a problem because it sends that extra through your body to your spine.  I can determine if you have too much pronation and recommend custom-made orthotics. They can help enhance your ability to absorb this damaging shock.

It’s time to make sure your feet are giving your whole body the proper support and protection it needs. Are you ready to get your body back in balance?  Stop in my San Francisco office or go online to schedule a complimentary consultation to digitally evaluate how your feet affect the rest of your body.

Adapted from