Many people have chronic, lingering pain in their hips, knees, low back, shoulders and neck and that has not responded to traditional treatment. If you are in this group, there may be a connection between the pain you are experiencing and the way your feet function.
The knees, back and hips are the areas most often affected by abnormal foot mechanics or asymmetry in your gait. Below are just a few examples of the many mechanical abnormalities of the foot that can lead to pain in other parts of your body:
The knee is is made to bend only in one direction—with the knee facing straight forward. When the foot rolls in too much (over-pronates), however, the leg rotates in toward the opposite leg. This causes the knee to function while pointing inward. In this position each step you take will put stress on the knee. If your knee pain is due to your foot mechanics, orthotics can be a very effective way to relieve your symptoms.
In a 1999 study of patients with low back pain, gait abnormalities were detected in all patients. Eighty four percent of the patients studied experienced improvement with the use of custom foot orthotics. All of the study participants had not responded to standard treatments which had included spinal manipulation, physical therapy, therapeutic injections and/or surgery. 1Dannenber, Guiliano. 1999. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Leg length discrepancy (LLD) is a problem we commonly see that causes back and hip pain. Depending on the problem, treatment may be as simple as a lift or may require an orthosis.
Critical to relieving your pain is evaluating and treating the subtle gait abnormalities found to be a common yet untreated cause of chronic musculo-skeletal complaints. Drs Huppin and Hale have specialized training in biomechanics, a branch of medical science dealing with human motion and posture. They will evaluate you both dynamically (while moving) and statically (while at rest).
GAIT ANALYSIS WITH SLOW MOTION VIDEO
To diagnose many of these chronic and functional problems, we have a video gait analysis system in our office.
We use a treadmill and four video cameras to record you as you are walking. Gait analysis will help identify abnormal mechanics that may be causing pain. If abnormal, a very important aspect of your treatment will be the prescription of functional foot orthotics. Orthotic therapy helps correct your movement and relieve the pain in your aching muscles and bones.
CUSTOM FOOT ORTHOTICS
Foot orthoses function in several ways to reduce pain in your knees, hips and back. The key is that each foot functions differently and our detailed examination and gait analysis will allow us to determine the best orthotic prescription for each persons mechanical abnormality.
Shoes that offer the correct support for your foot are an integral part of any biomechanical treatment plan. We will provide you with recommendations of appropriate shoes for your foot type and a list of shoe stores with personnel trained in proper fitting.
If you are experiencing knee, hip or back pain call to schedule an evaluation in our Seattle office to determine if your pain is affected by the mechanics of your feet.
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Douglas Hale, DPM & Lawrence Huppin, DPM
Foot and Ankle Center of Washington, Seattle
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