Aug 22 2016
Flat feet – sounds funny, but it’s no joke. In the US military it used to be that having flat feet would routinely excuse potential recruits from military service. Today, that rule is no longer strictly enforced, but if it were, the country would cease to be a world power! Seriously, modern living has produced a virtual epidemic of fallen arches. The good news is there are many practical solutions to fix flat feet.
When the arches of the feet collapse, a lot of bad things happen. First, consider that the arch of the foot is supposed to flex and absorb shock. If the arch is flat, the foot lacks shock absorbency, and stress is transferred to the knees, hips, and lower back. This is why many of the advertisements for orthotics claim that they can resolve back pain. With fallen arches, the bones of the ankle are not optimally aligned with the foot, increasing the risk of ankle injuries. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, approximately one million people in the US are treated for ankle injuries every year.
It’s also estimated that athletes who injure an ankle are five times more likely to injure that ankle again.”
Fallen arches also cause the bones of both the upper legs and lower legs to internally rotate. This rotation increases stress on the ACL. The ACL is a ligament that connects the upper and lower leg bones and provides stability to the knee, making the ACL critical for dynamic movements. Approximately 300,000 ACL injuries occur annually in the US, and the risk of injury is greater to athletes and women. Also consider that only 30 percent of ACL injuries are a result of direct contact, which suggests that an important step to preventing ACL injuries is to address the structure and function of the foot.
Another consequence of fallen arches is that the inward rotation of the upper legs increases the arch in the lower back, a condition technically referred to as lumbar hyperlordosis. Lumber hyperlordosis reduces the ability of the spine to absorb shock. The result is an increased risk of back injury and pain.
The most common method of correcting flat feet is orthotics. Orthotics don’t permanently correct fallen arches – they only work while the user is wearing them. Also, the pressure of the orthotic on the arch can also cause the arch to become weaker.
Solutions include corrective exercises to strengthen muscles that support the arch. One such muscle is the extensor halluces longus, which creates lateral tension on the foot and also strengthens and stretches the two major calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus).
Another solution to fixing flat feet is the practice of Posturology with the use of very thin insoles. The postural insoles stimulate the skin of the foot and create postural reflexes that create alignment of the feet and of the joints above. If you suffer from fallen arches, take a proactive approach to good health by seeking the help of a Posturologist. Good posture begins from the ground up! One treatment method a Posturologist will use to correct valgus feet is the use of postural insoles that stimulate the mechanoreceptors in the skin of the feet, thus triggering a stimulating effect of the flexor chains through reflex pathways. Because this information is processed by the nervous system, the speed at which the changes occur are very quick.
In conclusion, to reduce your risk of becoming an injury statistic, seek out the help of a Posturologist and develop a strong foundation of healthy living.
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Annette Verpillot is the fonder of Posturepro a company specializing in Posturology. She is an internationally recognized Posturologist specializing in performance, injury prevention and rehabilitation. She has presented her methods on Posturology on Breakfast and ICI Television, the 2015 SWIS Symposium in Toronto, Canada along with providing teachings to renowned Strength Coaches and to significantly large and renowned organizations in North America.
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