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Posts for tag: equinus

Our ancient ancestors once believed the world was flat, but it’s a good thing the world is round, otherwise we’d have a lot of troubles. Another thing that causes trouble when it’s flat is your foot!

The arch is an extremely important feature of your foot. As you walk or run, there are certain times when your foot must remain rigid to push off the ground and provide balance. At other times, your foot needs to relax to distribute bodyweight and act as a shock absorber. If the tendons or ligaments supporting the arch are damaged or become weak, the arch will start to fall, and these functions will be impacted.

READ MORE: Choosing Exercise Shoes

When your arch flattens, the rest of your foot will fall inward, resulting in overpronation. This throws off the alignment of your steps and leads to other foot and ankle conditions. If you overpronate, the shock of each step is not absorbed or distributed properly. Extra wear and tear on the bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons of your foot can lead to plantar fasciitis, tendon ruptures, stress fractures, heel pain, and more.

Fallen arches occur due to a variety of different causes. When we are born, our feet are completely flat. Eventually an arch will develop; usually by age six. In some children, however, the arch will never fully form, mostly due to genetics. If you have diabetes, are obese, or are pregnant, your arches are more likely to fall. Adults can also acquire flat feet from wear and tear or as the result of an injury. Additionally, it may be a secondary symptom of a different underlying condition such as an excessively tight Achilles tendon or a weakened tibial tendon.

READ MORE: Achilles Tendon Ruptures

You may notice that the arch is visible when sitting, but the foot flattens once the person stands. This is common in kids, and many children outgrow flexible flat foot with no problems. In adults, the disappearance of the arch may be due to lack of strength in the foot and excess body weight.

The flattening of the arch itself generally does not cause symptoms, but the stress it adds to other portions of the foot can lead to new issues or exacerbate existing conditions. Pain may develop in the hips, back, or knees as well as the feet and ankles. One of the easiest ways to support a flat foot and avoid pain is by using orthotics and proper footwear. These will realign the ankle and reduce chances of injury. When combined with stretching and physical therapy, these methods can eliminate pain and other symptoms associated with flat feet.

READ MORE: Accommodative Orthotics

To determine the best course of treatment, your podiatrist will examine your feet from the front, back, while standing, and on tiptoe. They may also inspect the wear pattern on the bottom of your shoes to determine where you need support most. If you have fallen arches, make an appointment today to avoid pain tomorrow.

If the world is lacking in anything, it certainly isn't health advice. Everywhere you turn thare are articles, talk shows, and videos promoting exercise, healthy eating, meditation and more. You are, in fact, reading a blog right now that aims to give you health advice. It's everywhere!

With so much information, it can be difficult to remember every tip your read or hear. When it comes to your foot health, if you only remember one thing, remember to stretch. Stretching your feet, ankles, and legs before and after workouts can prevent injury and relieve pain. Daily repetition can increase flexibility, relax tendons, and strengthen muscles.

Begin with your lower leg. The medical term for abnormally or uncomfortably tight calf muscles is Equinus. A person with this condition would be unable to bend the top of their foot toward their shin. Such limited mobility will force the body to compensate when walking. Your arches may fall, or you may be tempted to toe-walk to avoid discomfort. These modifications in gait may lead to plantar fasciitis, leg cramping, tendonitis, ankle pain, and more. Heel lifts and wall stretches can loosen tight calves.

READ MORE: Your Achilles Heel

Next, your ankles need a little attention. Stretching and exercising your ankles will keep ligaments strong and flexible which helps avoid ankle sprains during activity. Overuse and chronic inflammation of the ankle joint can lead to osteoarthritis. Stretching may relieve joint pain due to arthritis and promote healthy circulation. Try drawing the alphabet in the air with your foot. Point your foot and hold for one minute then flex for one minute. Repeat this three to five times. Flexible ankles are important to maintaining an active lifestyle.

READ MORE: Chronic Ankle Instability

Finally, you’ll want to exercise your toes. Bunions, hammertoes, arthritis and more can plague your tootsies if you don’t stretch them. With no shoes or socks on, spread your toes as wide as you can, hold for 10 seconds then relax and repeat ten times on each foot. Improve flexibility and dexterity by picking up small objects with your toes. Challenge yourself to move pencils or marbles into a cup. Keeping toes strong can prevent strain and injury.

READ MORE: Hammertoes

It’s not uncommon to feel soreness when your first start stretching, but if you feel pain, call the FAAWC to make an appointment. If you’ve had a recent injury to your foot or ankle, check with your podiatrist before starting a stretching regimen.