Is your foot strong enough for your level of activity?
The foot is one of the most dynamic areas of the body, it also takes some of the most punishment. Many people know the importance of looking after their core to prevent back pain, or their rotator cuff and scapula to help control the shoulder. It may come as some surprise, but foot strength is just as important, especially in runners or athletes who perform in high impact or multi-directional sports. If you have “flat feet” the strength of your foot is even more important.
Diagram 1 demonstrates the muscles of the ankle and lower limb often referred to as the extrinsic muscles of the foot.
These muscles area extremely important in the dynamic loading, the foot experiences in all weight bearing activities, but more so in sports where the loading moment is increased. A couple of these muscles, Tibialis Anterior and Tibialis Posterior are common (but not the only source) causes of shin pain, often referred to as “shin splints.” Common treatments for shin splints are orthotics. Orthotics come in a range of shapes, sizes and densities and it is very important that if fitted, they are appropriate and fitted correctly. Orthotics, especially in an athletic population, need to support the foot but not control the movement of the foot. Controlling the foot can lead to changing the mechanics of the entire lower limb and end up just moving the problem from the foot to the knee or hip.
Diagram 2 demonstrates the muscle layers in the foot, often referred to as the intrinsic muscles of the foot.
The intrinsic muscles of the foot, helps the foot mould to the surface it is on, absorb some of the shock of impact and then stiffen the foot again to assist in propulsion. A commonly seen pathology when the foot intrinsic muscles are weak is called “plantar fasciitis.” This is an inflammation of the plantar fascia (aponeurosis in diagram 2), which used to be called and/or blamed on heel spurs.
Foot “core” muscles can be strengthened and this can assist in lots of foot, ankle and knee complaints experienced by people. Often people can avoid costly orthotics or get away with only using them in certain conditions.
If you think your feet might not be as good as they should be call us or book online today, to receive a thorough assessment. We’ll ask you to bring your running/sports shoes, work shoes or boots and/or shoes that make you sore. Don’t put up with pain any longer!