The foot and ankle contain a quarter of the body’s total bones. It is a complex structure with many joints and planes of axis, and it is the structure that physically connects us to the Earth. Often we are more concerned with our hip, knee and ankle alignment when we exercise that we can over look the role foot structure and function play in our overall health and fitness.
Ways in which our foot structure effects our whole body alignment is demonstrated in the diagram below.
Figure 1 demonstrates what happens to the lower limb and foot when the foot is excessively pronated (flat). As the foot pronates, the leg (tibia and fibula) internally rotates, the knee and patella become displaced, the thigh (femur) also internally rotates and misaligns the femoral head on the pelvis. This creates an unstable platform for the rest of the trunk and upper limbs to function from.
Figure 2 demonstrates a lower limb, foot and hip in neutral position. This alignment at the knee and hip is supported by the foot also in neutral position, allowing for optimal functionality of joints and muscles during the gait cycle.
Figure 3 demonstrates the opposite of figure 1. When the foot is placed in a supinated (high arch) position, the leg externally rotates, the knee again is displaced in the opposite direction and the thigh externally rotates, again misaligning the hip.
Persons who demonstrate lower limb and foot alignment similar to that of figure 1 and figure 3 may require treatment with foot orthoses, stretching and muscle strengthening programs to correct alignment and relieve pain.
This article was written and illustrated by Jane, one of our skilled Podiatrists. To book in with Jane either give us a call or book online and select ‘Jane’ as your practitioner.
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