Wear shoes with minimal support
Footwear is a primary reason many people develop foot issues during their lifetime. When muscles are not required to be active because the support is being provided by a shoe they tend to become weak and can even stop functioning all together. Due to the position that shoes can put your foot in, the following can occur…
- Diminished length of gastroc and soleus (calf muscles)
- Diminished arch height/flat foot
- Inability to stabilize your foot
- Abnormal gait pattern
By wearing shoes that have minimal support you force the muscles in your feet to remain active and allow your feet and ankles to remain in the same position they are in when you are barefoot. If you have been wearing supportive shoes for a long time you should not immediately switch to a “barefoot” style of shoe. It will likely take a period of transition for you to be able to tolerate the diminished support style a barefoot shoe provides. It is best to talk to a professional such as a physical therapist or someone at a running store to learn more about different styles of shoes before you change your shoe style. In the meantime, you can practice walking around at home barefoot more often to start working your muscles.
Practice not wearing your orthotics
- Orthotics come in all shapes and sizes, however not all orthotics are equal. Often times when people have foot pain this is one of the first places they go. Orthotics are thought to provide cushion and support to your foot, which people think translates to relieving their foot pain. Wearing an orthotic is actually just like putting a bandaid on a wound as you can no longer see the wound, however the impairment or injury remains.
- Foot pain is often caused by a chronic change in foot posture that causes the soft tissue and bony structures of your foot to adapt. There are 3 main arches in your foot – medial arch, lateral arch, and transverse arch, all of which are maintained by the small muscles in your foot. When you wear an orthotic it begins to do the job of these muscles by bringing the ground to your foot rather than forcing these muscles to maintain their appropriate posture.
- Maintaining proper foot posture and strength in these muscles is just like building muscles in your arms – you have to work them to make them stronger. You can do this by starting to walk around barefoot more and wearing your orthotics less.
Increase your ankle dorsiflexion
- Dorsiflexion is the range of motion achieved at your ankle by bringing your toes up toward your head. Dorsiflexion is essential when walking to clear the toes when you pick up your foot and go to take another step. Many times people lose the ability to dorsiflex their ankle with enough range of motion and they begin to compensate with other motions.
- Dorsiflexion is also very important to be able to squat. A squat is a movement that we do everyday whether it is for exercise or just to sit down on a chair. When we lack ankle mobility it can diminish the depth you can reach, and also cause you to feel unbalanced when you attempt to go below that depth.
Your Next Move….
Find out what is causing YOUR foot and ankle pain. Get a free screen at Robbins Rehabilitation where after 30 minutes of 1-on-1 time with one of our Docs, you will get…
- A diagnosis – what is the cause of your pain
- A Prognosis – How long will it take for you to get back to normal?
- A Plan – A detailed explanation of what needs to be addressed to get you back to normal.
Stop guessing at what is causing your foot and ankle pain and get some answers. Call our free screen hotline at 610-295-9256 and schedule your free screen today.