The health and function of your feet have a direct impact on the rest of your body. A quarter of the bones in your body are in your feet. Simply walking can produce more pressure than the sum of your body weight. The average person walks more than four times the circumference of the globe in their lifetime.
I see so many patients who think that foot discomfort and pain is a normal. It isn’t! Your feet are finely-tuned marvels of natural engineering. They deserve to be treated with care and respect so if you don’t already love your feet, start now.
Feet can be plagued with many fungal and bacterial problems as well as symptoms of more serious conditions such as diabetes but I want to draw your attention to importance of properly functioning feet. The most obvious symptoms of foot trouble are pain and dysfunction (limping, favouring one foot or the other, inability to put weight on the heel and/or the toes). Pain and dysfunction caused by illness or injury can force you change your gait (the way you walk) and create significant stresses on the joints of your legs, hips and lower spine. Your feet are the foundation for your en- tire body. When they suffer, your whole body is placed in jeopardy. Even without pain, foot dysfunction can cause your whole body to overcompensate, which can lead to back pain and even headache, not to mention the emotional stress of discomfort and limitations on movement that can spread from the feet upward.
Wearing appropriate and properly fitting footwear will go a long way to keeping your feet working properly (see the tips below). Women have four times as many foot problems as men because they are more likely to wear high heels and pointy toed shoes. I advise all female patients to limit wearing high heels and to wear flatter shoes, such as pumps, for the majority of the day. Everyone should avoid wearing the same pair of shoes every day by alternating between two or more pairs. Chiropractic adjustments of your feet – and elsewhere in your body as required – can restore function and relieve pain. As a result, other painful disorders elsewhere in your body, but stemming from or causing your foot problems, will also be relieved. In addition, at my clinic we examine patients to determine whether prescription shoe inserts (orthotics) will offer relief.
Generic one-size-fits-all orthotics are good for all but 15% of cases. If however you have tried off the shelf orthotics then prescription orthotics may be the way to go. They should fit more comfortably into your shoes and they are designed to support and improve the functioning of your individual feet. They work rather like the way braces work on your teeth: by exerting gentle and consistent pressure to bring foot muscles and bones back into proper alignment. If you suffer from heel spurs (plantar fasciitis) then orthotics are an ideal solution in 80 to 90 per cent of cases.
- Have your feet measured while you’re standing.
- Always try on both shoes and walk around the shop.
- Always buy for the larger foot; feet are seldom precisely the same size.
- Don’t buy shoes that need a break-in period – shoes should be comfortable immediately.
- Don’t rely on the size of your last pair of shoes. Your feet do get larger.
- Shop for shoes later in the day; feet tend to swell during the day and it’s best to be fitted while they are in that state.
- Select a shoe with a leather upper, stiff heel counter, appropriate cushioning, and flexibility at the ball of the foot.
- If you wear prescription orthotics, you should take them along to shoe fittings.