When Cathy fell in love, she said she was "swept off her feet." When Ken wasn't sure about retiring, his wife said he had "cold feet." Laura was so sensible; her kids always said she had "both feet on the ground”, we “turn up our toes” and “kick up our heels” (not necessarily in that order).
All jokes aside, Feet have an important job to do - they have to carry us around day in and day out - so it's important to give them the care and attention they deserve. Jason Bradley of BodyWorx Physiotherapy see’s clients daily complaining of leg and foot pain - so this month he shares with us the top 5 reasons we get foot and leg problems, some tips to beat the pain and a special offer to boot (no pun intended!)
1 Wearing poor or inappropriate footwear Choosing the correct shoe for each activity can mean the difference between "tripping the light fantastic" or hobbling with blisters and injuries. When participating in exercise its important to ensure you wear shoes that support and cushion your feet correctly. Brand names do not always guarantee the right choice, it’s important to update on a 6 month to yearly basis depending on the level of use. Your physio can give you advice on the best footwear suitable for you.
2. Excess weight Excess weight doesn’t just increase your risk of heart failure and diabetes, it also increase the pressure placed on the muscles and joint in your legs. For example, your kneecap withstands over 10 times your bodyweight in compression while running. If you increase your weight by 10kg, that’s another 100kg of pressure on your knee. Making small changes to your diet and exercise program can make vast differences to your health and weight. A dietitian and exercise physiologist can give you advice in regards to altering your food intake or exercise program.
3. Weak muscles The way your body works and moves together is described as a kinetic chain. If there is a weakness in the muscles along the chain it can increase the pressure at different points along the chain. For example, a weak gluteal or bottom muscle increases pressure in the knee and foot and is a common risk factor for arthritis in the knee and heel spurs. These issues once idenitified can oten be easily fied through a regular corrective exercises. And it doesn’t need to be laborious. The majority of programs I prescribe take clients 10-15mins while watching TV.
4. Tight muscles The majority of our patients who experience foot knee or ankle pain present with one or more tight muscles. Like weakness, a tight muscle impacts on how the body moves. Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are often related to calf and foot arch tightness. You can stretch the calf by lunging against a wall with one leg back and use a tennis balls to press down into and massage your arch.
5. Poor foot posture Over 90% of the population are ‘pronators’ which means their feet roll in. For some adults and children this happens too much or at the wrong time and needs correction. Without correction extra pressure is placed on ligaments and muscles leading to injuries like shin splints, heel spurs and Achilles tendonitis.
If you are concerned about yours or your child’s feet, speak to one of the expert BodyWorx Physiotherapists and arrange a free computerised assessment for intouch magazine readers during the month of October.