Misaligned feet are a common problem among many Americans. Many people don't even know their feet are not aligned properly and that the imbalance may be affecting their knees, hips and lower back. The foot care tips below can help you recognize the problem.
Athletes especially can have misaligned feet if they do not train properly or allow themselves sufficient time to recover after they receive an injury. The resulting pain and discomfort can cause you to become inactive and may lead to weight gain.
Signs of Misaligned Feet
When your feet are misaligned, you can experience a variety of symptoms depending on how far your feet are out of balance. Calluses can begin to form and your feet may hurt the more active you become. While injuries and stress can cause your feet to be out of alignment, imbalances can also be caused by structural problems in the hips, knees or ankles.
Pronation or supination can occur as the result of how your bones develop as you grow. Where symptoms are concerned, if none are experienced and the imbalance is just starting to occur, immediate correction can prevent damage from occurring. Dr. Nagy can use a gait analysis to help identify potential alignment problems that can cause pain and discomfort.
Wear and Tear on Your Shoes
One way to identify misalignment of the feet is to look at the wear patterns on your shoes. Areas of wear indicate where the foot places the most pressure on the ground's surface. If the wear patterns are uneven, it's a good indicator that your feet are not properly aligned.
You can also identify wear patterns by wetting your feet and walking on a dry surface like cement or concrete. The footprint you create will identify exactly what areas of your feet touch the ground. Wear patterns on the inside of your shoes indicate overpronation, while patterns along the outside indicate supination or excessive pressure placed on the sides of your feet.
Pain in Your Knees and Hips
When the feet do not move properly, it starts a chain reaction that begins with your feet and ankles and can extend as far up as your lower and mid-back area. If the misalignment is caused by an injury, it's important to start correcting the problem as soon as possible.
If left untreated, the muscles and connective tissue in the ankles and knees will be the first to bear the strain. As the tension in the lower leg increases, the hips can be pulled out of alignment as well, placing stress and excessive amounts of pressure on the lower back. The longer the imbalance is allowed to continue, the more tension the muscles will endure, eventually training them to function inefficiently.
Correcting the Problem
Whether the misalignment is caused by an injury or a structural problem, you should start to receive treatment immediately. The sooner the issue is addressed, the quicker your body will respond to the treatment. Allowing the tension to continue indefinitely can increase your healing time by several months.
Dr. Nagy can use the HyProCure® procedure to help relieve intense pain and discomfort. For some, orthotics are the best option. Splints and braces can be worn during periods of strenuous exercise and physical activity.
If the problem is minor, regular stretching of the feet, ankles, and calves can strengthen the muscles and keep the joints flexible after an injury. This also speeds up the healing process and will help the feet and ankles remain in alignment during the healing process.
If you begin to experience any type of pain or discomfort in your feet and ankles, contact a New Hampshire podiatrist at Nagy Footcare. Dr. Nagy and his staff can assess the health of your feet and evaluate how well they're functioning. Discovering problems while still in the earliest stages encourages natural healing and reduces the risk of permanent damage to the structure of your feet.
Contact Nagy Footcare and schedule a consultation today. Dr. Nagy understands the importance of maintaining the health and well-being of your feet and will offer any foot care tips he can to reduce your pain and discomfort.
At Nagy Footcare, our best day is when you wake up with no foot pain.