- What is Chiropractic
- What is a Subluxation
- What is an Adjustment
- What is Muscle Guarding
- Care for Accidents and Injuries
- Rehabiliative Care
- Prevention & Wellness Care
- Chiropractic for Sports & Fitness
- Conditions Improved by Chiropractic
- Top 7 Reasons to get Adjusted
- What to Expect at Your First Visit
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
- TCM Diet Principles
- Acupuncture for Pain
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- Acupuncture During Pregnancy
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- Acupuncture to Quit Smoking
- Trigger Point Dry Needling
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- What is Chi/Qi and Meridians
- Conditions Improved by Acupuncture
- Chicago Community Acupuncture Project
- Top 7 Reasons to get Acupuncture
- What to Expect at Your First Visit
- What Are Orthotics?
- Foot Mechanics
- Symptoms of Improper Foot Mechanics
- Conditions Improved by Orthotics
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Shin Splints
- Hallux Rigidus
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Knee Pain
- Low Back Pain
- Sports Performance
- Choosing Shoes for Your Orthotics
The feet are designed to support the weight of our bodies as we move about. The term “foot mechanics” refers to the proper or improper functioning of the feet in the performance of these all-important duties.
Proper Foot Mechanics
In walking, the feet behave very much as springs which propel the body forward with every step a person takes. At its most basic, there are two components of foot mechanics that everyone experiences to some degree:
- Pronation – This is a flattening of the arches of the feet and an inward “tipping” of the ankle which occurs each time the foot strikes the ground. This happens to absorb shock from the heel impacting the ground and assist in balance when the person’s body is in mid-stance.
- Supination – The polar opposite of pronation, this is an outward “tipping” of the ankle that supports the stability and rigidity of the foot each time a person first pushes off from the ground to take a step. Supination also provides leverage for the person’s weight as they “take off” and helps create a natural rolling motion off the toes as the step is initiated and the foot first leaves the ground.
Every person’s feet and ankles pronate and supinate. The question, however, is to what degree. Moderate pronation and supination is normal and healthy. Excessive pronation and supination, however, can be quite problematic.
Improper Foot Mechanics
When the feet are not properly doing their job, it falls to other parts of a person’s body – lower back, hip, knees – to take on their role in order to compensate. But the lower back, hip, and knees aren’t designed to be the body’s “propellers”, and as such will eventually deteriorate over time if used too often for too long in this capacity.
That’s when pain starts and injury becomes more likely to occur.
- Overpronation – when the ankle tilts in too far and the person’s weight bears down on the inner edge of the foot – pulls on the muscles that stabilize the lower leg and can cause a pulling of the knee towards the inside. A typical consequence of overpronation is “runner’s knee”. 90-95% of foot problems are associated with overpronation.
- Oversupination – when the ankle tilts outwards too far and the person’s weight bears down on the outer edge of the foot – stretches the lower leg’s outer stabilizing muscles too much and commonly can lead to pain and injury of the ankle. If the ankle then rolls over as a result (as is easy to do once oversupinated) then ligament injury can also occur. 5-10% of foot problems are associated with oversupination.
If left untended, both overpronation and oversupination can lead to fatigue and eventual breaking down of the related muscles and tendons, causing microscopic tears to occur which trigger inflammation and lead, in turn, to pain, swelling, and even scarring.
We Are Experts at Detecting and Correcting Improper Foot Mechanics
Call our office today at 773.878.7330 to schedule a Foot and Ankle examination. Discover if your feet are the healthy foundation you need them to be.