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Could Your Feet be the Cause of Your Pain?

Updated: Apr 18, 2022

Did you know the average person walks 110,000 miles in their lifetime? That’s a lot of steps taken daily, which has a lot of impact on your body. When walking, each foot absorbs 1.5x your body weight!

Think how much our feet go through in just a single day…they get us out of bed, get squished in shoes, take us where we need to go, stand for hours at the ballpark, absorb 5x our body weight as we run and jump and if we are lucky never cause us problems.

As a Physical Therapist, I treat many people who are coming to see me for lower back pain, hip issues or knee problems, yet the main problem could be coming from their feet.

Our feet are made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles, 10 tendons and 107 ligaments...feet are one of the most complex areas of our body with plenty of room for problems to occur! And as mentioned above, problems at the feet will often show up in other areas like the knee, hip or lower back.

When you come to see me, the most common areas I assess in the feet are the following:

  1. Ankle Dorsiflexion

  2. Foot Posture

  3. Gait Pattern

  4. Sciatic Nerve Tension

Ankle Dorsiflexion is how well your ankle bends (when you lift the top of your foot up) and this is a main contributor to bio-mechanical issues in the knee and hip. If your ankle does not bend well, then there is more force transferred through your knees and hips.

Your Foot Posture is looking at how you stand statically. Do you have high arches? Flat feet? Somewhere in between? Do your feet turn out or in? When you stand on one leg, does your arch collapse? Sometimes the posture of your feet can change how force is transferred up your leg and can even influence how different muscles work in your legs.

Watching someone walk can tell me a lot about what may be going on in the foot, leg or even lower back. Our bodies are really good at compensating, so you may not even realize what you may be doing differently. I often look for any asymmetries between right and left, how well you push off, any hip dropping and your hip extension.

The Sciatic Nerve travels from the lumbar spine, the hips, the back of the thigh and then splits into several different nerves all the way to the toes. If there is any tension or limitation anywhere along the nerve pathway, it can show up in other places creating pain, tightness or numbness/tingling. I find many people have tension in this nerve, which over time can create limitations in mobility of the hip, knee and ankle.

The human body is complex and it’s important to view it as a whole! It’s also one of the things that makes my job so fun. If you want to learn more about your body and find the root cause of your pain, weakness or stiffness…reach out today by email or phone 615.982.4062!

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