The human foot comprises 26 bones, 33 joints which are all connected by a plethora of ligaments, and when, according to the NHS, the average person takes between 3,000-4,000 steps a day it’s safe to say the foot puts up with a lot!
Like the foundation of a house our feet play a huge role in our overall stability as we plant our body weight on them every day. When a small problem develops in your feet, it can have wide reaching consequences for your overall posture. Small changes can cause a chain reaction throughout the body and can affect not only your knees and ankles, but your hips and back.
What is foot posture?
When we talk about foot posture, we not only mean how you stand but also how your foot moves when you walk. Posture is dynamic, and this becomes evident when assessing a person’s gait (walking posture). Subtle restrictions or instabilities when walking causes your body to compensate throughout the lower limb and sometimes into your back.
Foot problems are relatively common, with approximately a quarter of the population experiencing some form of foot pain in their lifetime. This can be due to a wide range of different issues; however, the main problems people have with their feet is that are either pronated or supinated (low arch or high arch). These different foot postures put different stresses and strains through the foot when we weight-bear. One way of helping ease these strains is to wear an orthotic. Orthotics are insoles that you put in your shoes that have specifically been designed to help with any pain. They work by helping your body restore a natural balance and normal movement patterns.
Plantar Fasciitis is another foot pathology that is quite common with around 10% of the population experiencing it in their life. The plantar fascia is a thick ribbon of connective tissue that runs from the heal into the balls of your feet and is partly responsible to maintaining your foots medial arch and energy conservation while walking. Plantar Fasciitis is when this structure strains and can cause inflammation and pain, usually around the heel, which can be caused by long periods of standing or ankle restriction. Recent studies have shown that orthotics can reduce the load running through the plantar fascia and can help to reduce the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
Gait Analysis, what is it and how can we help?
At the OA Woodside in Hitchin and the OA RJ Clinic in Fetcham we have the hardware/technology to design custom orthotics that are specific to you. When you book an appointment with us, we will ask you to remove your shoes and socks so that we can look at your standing posture along with visually assessing your gait and having a hands-on assessment. You will then walk across and stand on our state-of-the-art gait scanner where it will measure the different pressures you place through different parts of your feet during your gait cycle. This gives us a technical diagram that we will talk through how an orthotic would work for you and whether you need them or not, as the gait scanner will also highlight areas of strain higher up in the leg as well. The orthotics we prescribe also have a lifetime guarantee, which means that if it breaks for any reason, we can replace it for free.
If you would like to book an orthotics consultation at the clinic, then please book in with Andy.