How the Way You Walk Can Affect Your Feet
When we’re discussing the way the body is structured and moves, we use the term “biomechanics.” If you break down that word into two parts—bio (“life”) and mechanics (“movement”)—it makes complete sense, especially when we look at how walking affects feet.
Feet and ankles are comprised of numerous bones and soft tissues that work together to provide both stability and mobility. Additionally, all of the respective body tissues are responsible for absorbing the tremendous amounts of force created with every step we take (each steps results in 2-4 times your body weight in force for the landing foot!).
When biomechanical abnormalities affect the intended functions of your lower limbs, they can create some big problems. To help you see what can happen, let’s start by looking at gait.
Gait is a term referring to the biomechanical processes your feet and leg use while walking. Everyone’s gait is unique, but all humans have the same five basic goals—even if they are unaware of it—with every step:
- Move the body forward with a controlled speed to a desired location.
- Use the least amount of energy possible.
- Cause the least amount of pain possible.
- Disperse the shock of force on the body while the foot lands.
- Use the foot as a rigid lever to provide a means of propelling the body forward.
Within the actual gait itself, there are two distinct phases – the Stance Phase and the Swing Phase. The Stance Phase is the time your foot spends on the ground, and this can further broken down into five stages: heel strike, early flatfoot, late flatfoot, heel rise, and toe off. The Swing Phase, naturally, is then the period while the foot up in the air.
As your body tries to achieve the 5 goals, the “domino effect” can sometimes cause problems. A commonly seen example of this pertains to Goal 3 (“Cause the least amount of pain possible”).
When a part of your foot is in pain, it’s only natural that you will adjust your gait to keep weight off of it. To do so, you will place extra weight on a different part of the foot. Since that part is not accustomed to the extra force load, problems can arise. Examples of this include bunions, heel pain, and Morton’s neuroma.
No matter if you are having foot or ankle pain on account of biomechanical issues or any other root cause, come see our team at Family Foot & Ankle Center of Jasper. Foot pain is not something you should have to endure, and it can even lead to larger problems down the road. To request an appointment or ask for additional information, give us a call at (812) 481-7200.