When standing, the body is a closed kinetic chain, meaning what happens in the feet can affect the ankles, knees, hips and back. If the feet are abnormally positioned or their alignment is off, the rest of the body could suffer. Orthotics can effectively treat issues in the feet and therefore also treat pain and discomfort further up the chain. Foot orthotics that are custom-made can effectively correct abnormal foot position and lower body alignment, making walking more efficient. Let’s investigate other lower body joint issues and how they can be affected by the feet!

Ankle Pain

Overpronation is usually associated with a flat foot type and oversupination with a high arched foot. Both foot types can cause increased strain or compression on the structures surrounding the ankle joint. Ankle joint instability is a common issue encountered at BioPed Footcare. It can be a result of weakness around the ankle or a history of frequent ankle sprains. With oversupination, the heel inverts significantly, which increases the risk for rolling the ankle.

Knee Pain

The position of the heel plays an important role in the alignment of the rest of the lower body, including the knees. If the heel rotates inward (everts) or the foot pronates, the rest of the foot follows in kind. The same applies if the heel rotates outward (inverts) or the foot supinates excessively. Pronation will put more strain on the inside or medial structures of the knee including tendons and ligaments. Supination reduces the amount of motion in the foot which reduces the amount of shock that can be absorbed with impact. Additionally, if the heel lifts too early from the ground it will cause a bouncy gait. This can cause tendonitis at the front of the knee, shin splints, or it can cause toe pain.

Hip Pain

Bursitis and arthritis are common issues that affect the hip joint. Bursitis develops when a fluid-filled sack around the joint called a bursa becomes inflamed. Bursae cushion the bones, tendons and muscles around your joints and can become inflamed when overused or there an injury occurs. Osteoarthritis is a degeneration of the cartilage in the joint. Cartilage is a strong, flexible connective tissue that provides cushioning in your joints. Custom made orthotics can help relieve hip pain by properly aligning the hips through support and added shock absorption and cushioning.

Lower Back Pain

Pain in the lower back is a struggle for many. Foot position, lower body alignment, and pain elsewhere in the body may cause us to adjust our gait to move about more comfortably. This can cause a domino effect in our body’s closed kinetic chain. Overpronation and hypermobility in the feet increases internal rotation of the legs and oversupination decreases range of motion in the feet which can lead to more shock travelling up the body to the lower back. A leg length discrepancy can cause tilting and misalignment of the spine. Orthotics can help re-align and re-balance the lower body.

If you are suffering with foot, ankle, knee, hip or back pain and discomfort, give your local BioPed a call to make an appointment with one of our lower limb clinicians. We have treatment options for you including orthotics, footwear, and bracing. The joints in our bodies are connected, your treatment plan ought to be as well!