Normal Foot Motion
Our feet are highly intricate structures. Each foot has twenty six bones (one half of all the bones in your body are in the feet and hands). Each foot has twenty six muscles and fifty two ligaments. When all of these parts are working together, we can stand, walk and run efficiently and smoothly. Our feet are truly architectural wonders. Unfortunately, there are often inborn or acquired imbalances in our foot structure. Over time, these imbalances can cause many foot problems. These problems include heel pain, bunions, tendonitis and hammertoes. Even pain in the legs, hips or back can come from poor foot structure or alignment.
Treating Abnormal Foot Motion
Surgery is one solution for problems related to poor foot mechanics. However, much simpler methods will often bring complete relief of pain. Appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises for the feet and legs are sometimes a key component of the correct approach. Frequently, the use of custom orthotic devices is a crucial part of the solution.
Each step you take should start with the foot striking gently on the heel. The weight of your body should then be smoothly transferred toward the front of the foot, particularly through the big toe. When there are deviations from this ideal range of motion, the result is abnormal strain on the feet and legs. Over time, these deviations accumulate and lead to injuries and deformities.
One of the most common abnormal foot types is the foot that pronates too much. There are many causes of excess pronation, but in lay terms, people usually refer to these foot types as flat feet. In someone with excess pronation, it often appears as if the arch is collapsed. High arched feet are less common, but individuals with this foot type are also prone to developing many foot problems.
Runners, exercise walkers and athletes are even more prone to developing problems from abnormal foot mechanics. This is due to the repetitive nature of their activities. Orthotic devices are often essential to allow successful exercise and sports activities.
An orthotic device is a custom shoe insert. A podiatrist can do a complete evaluation to determine where and how someone’s structure and motion deviate from normal. A mold of each foot is then made. These molds are sent to an orthotic device lab where the prescription devices are fabricated based on the orders from the prescribing doctor.
Not an Arch Support
Orthotic devices are customized shoe inserts that reposition and rebalance the feet during standing and walking. While an orthotic device may provide some arch support, that is only a minor function. With some foot problems, arch support can be helpful and a simple, inexpensive shoe insert can be used. However, pain, soreness or fatigue related to imbalances or abnormalities in foot structure usually require the precision correction made possible with a custom shoe insert.
We Can Help
If you or someone you love has foot pain or problems related to leg soreness or fatigue, give our office a call. Dr Helms is well known as an expert in the area of custom orthotic devices.