It’s strange how we forget about our feet when it comes to normal bodily movement function, isn’t it? We only really notice them, and take care of them, when they are hurting. What we sometimes fail to realise is that our feet may be at the bottom of our bodies, but they have a very important role to play in physical function. Feet are the body’s natural shock absorbers and springs – we can’t move independently without them, and they can have an impact literally from head to toe if we don’t take care of them, as well as contributing to localised conditions which can be very inconvenient, not to say painful.
While walking is a natural thing for all of us, walking properly is something that is a complex operation that impacts on the entire body. If there are issues with walking – an abnormal ‘gait,’ where foot movements don’t flow as they should – you could be storing up trouble for the future.
You only need to watch an athlete in operation to see how important the feet are to movement. Divers use them as springs to push off from the board, foot movement is an integral element of a golf swing, and sprinters rely on a good push from the feet to get them off to the best start and give them a favourable chance of hitting the finishing tape first.
But, here’s the thing – foot positioning affects pretty much every movement, throughout the body, so if the feet aren’t giving you efficient service, it’s going to show up elsewhere, potentially causing injury and mobility problems, to say nothing of localised issues such as plantar fasciitis (heel pain), hammer toe and hallux valgus (deformity of the big toe). Poor foot function can adversely influence balance and efficient body movement, placing strain on legs, hips, back, and even the neck and head. It makes sense to get your range of motion and muscle function assessed by a good physiotherapist, so that potential foot mechanics failures can be picked up and dealt with at an early stage, giving a better chance of recovery with no permanent damage or loss of function elsewhere in the body.
Active Release Techniques (ART) is particularly suited to treatment of foot mechanics issues, because it’s such a flexible yet targeted therapy. The foot has so many moving parts, any of which can contribute to chronic mobility issues, and ART can isolate and treat the causes of pain and restricted movement. And even if you don’t have real issues now, an assessment from one of our therapists can identify where potential problems could arise in the future, and provide guidance to correct your stance before it becomes a major concern. With the help of our public golf simulator, and our specialist sports therapist, we can work on your stance and performance, so you achieve the best possible range of movement, whether you’re a keen sports person or just someone who wants to move better, feel better and live better, without the nagging interference of chronic pain or deformity.