The foot arch varies from person to person, and can change over time, becoming too flat or too high. It can be influenced by body weight, activity, stress, footwear, or trauma, and can cause foot and heel pain, bunions, toe deformities, numbness and calluses. Fallen arches or over-pronating feet tend to alter leg-to-pelvis biomechanics, positioning and the curvatures of the spine, potentially leading to knee or hip problems, bursitis, tendonitis, buttocks pain, back pain, headaches or even jaw pain.
The most common foot problems seen by your physiotherapist are:
- heel pain and heel spurs
- retro-calcaneal bursitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- shin splints
- Morton’s neuroma (entrapment of nerve bundles at the base of the toes)
- Plantar fasciitis
The plantar fascia is a thick, inelastic band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. It is attached to the heel bone and spreads out forward to attach at the heads of the metatarsal bones in the forefoot. The plantar fascia acts as a spring to help absorb weight transfer through the foot while walking, and helps the toe flexor tendons to maintain the arch. It can become inflamed as a result of strain from insufficient foot muscle support, causing Plantar Fasciitis and pain.
A thorough assessment is essential to determine the particular characteristics of your feet.
Abnormal foot arches can be supported with orthotics or insoles for structural support. The patient with abnormal arches also needs a combined approach of proper exercise, gait training, and various manual therapy techniques to ensure biomechanical alignment and support for proper foot mechanics.