Movement
Essential Foot Care Tips From an Experienced Podiatrist
Insights with Marc Ninio (Podiatrist)
Chronic pain is a huge problem globally.
In Australia alone, 3.2 million people suffer from chronic pain.

But what is a holistic view of pain and is the pain in your shoulders connected to your feet?

We look into these issues (and more) below, with input from Dr Mark Ninio - Podiatrist and member of the Unstress Health Advisory Panel.

Marc Ninio shares his insights below...

 
A Pronating Foot May be Causing Your Back Pain
If your foot pronates or rolls inwards, it causes the leg to twist inwards. This movement results in an anterior pelvic tilt, or the bottom sticking out, placing more pressure on the lower back.

As time passes, the shoulders start to compensate, dropping back, causing the head to move forwards. This is a common problem in lower back pain and neck tension patients.

The solution is anything which helps tuck the bottom in. It may be correcting the pronation, core stability or posture awareness.

The picture gets a little more complex. One foot may be rolling inwards more than the other. Only one side of the pelvis is affected, causing pain and dysfunction in the upper body. Mark says that..
Mark said:
 It's worth noting even though the feet are not painful when this is occurring, it's creating problems further up the chain.
 
The Best Shoe for Your Choice of Exercise
It is important you are familiar with your foot and how it functions if you are to buy the best possible shoe for your foot. Does your foot roll inwards or outwards when you walk? These days shoes are made specifically for different foot types.

The type of activity you do also determines the type and amount of support your shoe needs to give your foot. Running, for example, is a monodirectional activity. Your foot is constantly moving in one direction only. If you play basketball or tennis, your foot movements are multidirectional - your feet are twisting a lot. So, they need more support in the front of the shoe.

 
Cross Training for the Foot
Mark says it is important to cross-train the foot.
 We shouldn't just be stuck in a pair of shoes, a pair of orthotics, we need to get different inputs coming into the foot.
We need to mix it up. Spend some time walking barefoot and some time walking in shoes. Walk on different surfaces - hard surfaces, grass, sand.
 
If you already know you have Limb Length Differences, there are a number of solutions
There are a variety of options for correcting problems with the foot:
  • It could be as simple as wearing a more appropriate shoe.
  • A change in your fitness program.
  • If the leg is short, the podiatrist will suggest a raise to change the way the pelvis functions.
  • Prescription orthotics are used to correct pronation.
  • There are laser treatments for joints and soft tissue lesions.
  • Mobilisation of the feet.
A note on off-the-shelf orthotics. Dr Ron notes in dentistry there is a big difference between an orthotic he makes for a patient and one bought off the shelf. He asked Mark if it is the same in podiatry.
 They'll [off-the-shelf orthotics] get people out of pain but they might not be enough to get them out of dysfunction.
The podiatrist will take a mold of your foot to make sure it fits your foot precisely.
Mark says that there is no hard and fast rule of how long you should wear your orthotics. He suggests to his patients that they wear them until they no longer have any pain. And then from time to time. The more they wear them, the better their foot function will be.
 
Practical Advice Summary
There are a variety of options for correcting problems with the foot:
  • It could be as simple as wearing a more appropriate shoe.
  • A change in your fitness program.
  • If the leg is short, the podiatrist will suggest a raise to change the way the pelvis functions.
  • Prescription orthotics are used to correct pronation.
  • There are laser treatments for joints and soft tissue lesions.
  • Mobilisation of the feet.
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