We mostly associate feet with shoes and sandals. Sports shoes for jogging, heels/canvas for partying, leather ones as formals and so on. But what about our feet? With a notable exception of pedicures, we seldom pay attention to this body part especially when it comes to fitness and health. But someone’s feet tell a lot about their fitness and posture, even if they have no existing pain/sprain issues in their feet. So what is the plot of this story? What clues can we use to solve such mystery? Let’s find out:
Disclaimer: All characters in this story are fictional. For people who already have pain issues in their feet or elsewhere, this article is not for you and should not be taken as a substitute to medical consultation.
The Arching Plot
Whether standing or doing squats, cycling, running uphill or even sitting in an Indian style toilet, bio-mechanically speaking, the stable position for your foot is always a neutral arched position (see pic on the right). Your foot’s arch acts like a spring and mitigates the impact/load towards your calves to thighs to hips and lower back. Typically, this is the basis of common lower body activities like running, cycling, standing, jumping, squatting etc where your feet just act as contact point but your whole body acts coherently as a single kinetic chain to take up the load and function properly. If this arch collapses (also called over-pronation), it acts like a mechanical fault in a multiple gear machine. Our body’s musculature, now not being able to work properly, compensates in various ways like favoring one side or limping or develops muscular imbalances to function in this new distorted position.
Couple of Clues | Solving the Mystery
If you think you don’t have to worry about it, we urge you to observe yourself throughout the day. You may be shocked to see how many times your foot’s arch collapses not just while exercising in the gym or running those last few miles in a long run but throughout the day like
traveling in a local/metro or while standing in the kitchen making your breakfast. Some people can’t even stand for 10 minutes in an arched foot position without shifting loads from one leg to another leg. Significant asymmetry in our body is very common as researched in this study.
There is one more clue shown by our feet to make it easier for us to solve this mystery. Many people have their feet turned outward (to a lesser or greater degree) as their natural resting position. To test this, observe your feet during you’re walking or standing for a while. Are your toes pointing straight forward or turned away? If your feet are turned outwards, this is again another sign of similar postural issues and dysfunctions that we talked about. How? You would notice that as you turn out your feet, it becomes tougher and tougher to maintain that arch. So you may be wearing shoes that support your foot’s arch firmly from collapsing but your toes may still point outwards. Such shoes may be a temporary fix but you should try and find the main culprit in the long run.
The Usual Suspects
Although there may be some cases where the problem resides within the feet itself (a physio would be able to diagnose it properly) but majority of the people will have their issues elsewhere. Weak hip muscles, tightness in groin/hip flexors, imbalanced inner and outer thigh musculature etc can all lead to faulty movement and posture patterns. So it is important to note that a local fault may be an early sign of a dysfunction in some other connected body part. Stretching and doing mobility drills for tight areas as well as strengthening weak muscles is the first step that such a client must take. Fix it now and prevent yourself from back/hip/knee/ankle pain in the future
This is the reason why at PSI Fitness, we request our exercise consultation clients to take their shoes off for 1 or 2 exercises to observe these minor faults since it tells us so much about their body and enables us to design a better, more safer program for them. For more info, call us on +91 76666 20988.
In Lucem Scientiam