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Knee, Hip, or Back Pain? Your Feet May Be at Fault

Don’t get us wrong: in general, common sense is a very good thing to have. It’ll serve you well, or at least point you in the right direction, at least 90 percent of the time.

But sometimes common sense can be misleading—especially when it comes to the healthy functioning of your body.

Let’s say your hip has been bothering you for a while, and the feeling seems to be getting worse. Common sense would probably tell you that you have some kind of mechanical problem with your hip itself—perhaps arthritis, or an inflamed tendon. And you might very well be right.

However, the root cause of your hip pain might be something very different. In fact, the problem may start in a completely different part of your body—namely, your feet!

Sounds crazy, right? But it’s true. To explain why, we need to talk a little bit about something called biomechanics.

A Firm Foundation

Your body is both a structure and a machine. In order for one part of your body to do its job properly, it must rely on all the other parts to do their jobs properly, too.

And just like an unsteady foundation can lead to cracking walls and ceilings, or a slow oil leak can ultimately ruin an engine if not addressed, foot problems tend not to stay in your feet.

This is especially true because your feet are your foundation. Every bone, muscle, tendon, and ligament in your entire musculoskeletal structure rests directly on top of them. The feet are at the very front of the line, so to speak, and any problems they experience can potentially spread further down that line.

The Problem Spreads

Let’s consider a brief example and follow the ramifications.

Foot structure issues like overpronation, flat arches, or ankle arthritis can put your feet out of alignment or cause you to alter the way you walk. Your biomechanical efficiency is reduced, and your feet start to sustain greater impact and pressure forces. With us so far? Good.

Now consider your knees. They are going to notice that their support isn’t quite what or where it should be. In order to compensate for the misalignments in your feet, your knees will now have to shift their position or function in order to protect themselves. Now they have been biomechanically compromised, and will also start to wear down faster.

This process may continue all the way up the chain, affecting your hips, lower back, and even shoulders in turn.

So What’s the Solution?

For most people, there is a very happy end to this story.

You see, while it may be very concerning that a foot misalignment can lead to so much pain and strain throughout the body, the flipside is that the solution is usually simpler than you might think.

In short, if you fix the misalignment at its source—the feet—the rest of your body’s joints and soft tissues will usually fall back in line. With their main source of daily excess stress resolved, your knees, hips, and back can finally get the chance to rest and heal.

And in the vast majority of cases, aggressive options like surgery are almost never necessary. Unless the structural problems with your feet are excessively severe, custom orthotics will typically be the best solution to the problem. Instead of “fixing” your feet through surgery, you can usually simply add the extra support and cushioning you need with the right set of orthotics—just like a pair of prescription eyewear allows otherwise compromised eyes to see with 20/20 clarity.

There’s even better news. At Lakes Foot and Ankle Associates, we are now harnessing modern technology (including digital scanning and 3D printing) to make our orthotics more effective (and more comfortable!) than ever before!

Why does this matter? Well, to be honest, a lot of podiatrists are still using outdated ideas about biomechanics (circa the 1970s), as well as prone-to-failure techniques for fitting (plaster molds, foam box impression, etc.) and manufacturing their orthotics.

Digital scanning, 3D printing, and the latest-and-greatest design improvements sidestep these problems and allow us to order orthotics that are much better than anything that was possible even just a few years ago.

(If you want to learn more about the system we use, known as Go 4-D, please check out our service page on the topic.)

Put Your Body Back in Place

If you’re suffering from pain anywhere throughout your standing skeletal system—especially pain that you can’t seem to explain, or that hasn’t responded to other treatments in a permanent way—don’t overlook the possibility that misaligned feet may be to blame.

And if that does happen to be the case, the best thing you can do for yourself is stop by and see Lakes Foot and Ankle Associates for a complete evaluation and, quite likely, a new set of extremely comfortable, awesomely effective custom orthotics.

Just give our office in Commerce Township a call at (248) 360-3888, or send us an appointment request online.

Monday8:00am – 4:30pm
Tuesday9:00am – 4:30pm
Wednesday8:00am – 4:30pm
Thursday8:45am – 6:00pm
Friday7:30 am – 4:00pm
Saturday– Closed –
Sunday– Closed –


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