Believe it or not, the way you stand can have a massive impact on your foot pain. And as a consequence, your foot pain can have a direct effect on your long-term spinal health causing back pain.
If you follow these four tips for taking care of your feet, then your feet will take care of you, which can even make things easier on your back.
The Basics of Foot Health
Because so much of your everyday life depends on your feet, it only makes sense to take good care of them. Nearly 80% of Americans have reported experiencing a foot problem of some kind, ranging from nail problems to localized pain or even tendonitis. Clearly, some education on the fundamentals of foot health is in order.
One of the best things you can do to take care of your feet is to treat them like you would any other part of the body. Perhaps it’s because our feet are designed to be tough enough to withstand walking, running, standing, and performing other activities all day, but we’re often tempted to treat them with less care than other body parts.
- Flip the script by practicing basic foot hygiene (e.g. avoid sharing shoes or pedicure utensils, such as nail clippers).
- Wear shoes that fit your feet even better than your tops fit your torso.
- Perform exercises and self-care routines that give your feet a chance to relax.
Even something as simple as reducing the discomfort you feel while walking can improve your gait, which in turn can improve your overall posture and mood.
#1: Wear Shoes That Support Your Spine
Leaving aside the question of women’s heels and other footwear items that frequently cause foot pain, think about your regular shoes. Do your running or other exercise shoes provide your feet with the support they need while under constant pressure during an intense workout? Do your dress shoes prevent your heels from supporting your spinal alignment?
Your shoes need to provide support against both supination (rolling your feet toward the inside while running or walking) and overpronation (rolling your feet toward the outside to a more severe degree than your natural step). Plus, your shoes should provide arch support. This is especially true if you suffer from sore feet and/or ankles.
If your shoes feel too tight or are too loose to provide the support you need, invest in a pair that actually fits your shoe size and provides the arch support you need.
#2: Practice Good Posture While Sitting or Standing
Correct posture always matters, whether you spend all day sitting at a desk or standing on your feet. Both of these positions fall under the umbrella of “static posture,” which refers to how you position your body while at rest (as opposed to “dynamic posture,” which is how you position your body while in movement).
If you take away nothing else about how to have a healthy posture, at least remember that paying attention to the way you carry yourself is a big step in the right direction. Most people who suffer from slouching and misaligned spines do so as a result of the fact that they aren’t aware of how severe their poor posture is. Lack of awareness of posture can also lead to neck pain or neck strain and poor shoulder health.
Take time to evaluate where each part of your body is positioned when you sit in a chair or stand on your feet. For example, when you’re sitting, do you cross your legs in your chair? Instead, keep your feet flat on the floor and in alignment with your knees.
Likewise, keep your arms straight so that your elbows form a roughly 90-degree angle and your upper arms run parallel to your back, which should be roughly straight with the back of your chair.
While on your feet, the correct position is to stand up straight and tall while maintaining the natural curve of your spine. Keep your shoulders, hips, and feet in alignment, and keep your head and neck level rather than craning them forward. Lastly, space your feet about shoulder-width apart and keep more weight on the balls of your feet than on your heels.
#3: Alternate Between Sitting and Standing During the Workday
Having a healthy posture regardless of what position you’re in is only one factor in the fight for better foot health. Alternating between standing up and sitting in a chair during your workday allows you to avoid falling into a bad posture in either position.
Believe it or not, your lower spine is actually under more pressure while sitting for long periods of time than standing. In other words, standing up at your work desk will actually serve as taking a break from the stress that sitting places on your body, even when using the correct sitting position.
In addition, the longer you sit in front of a computer screen, the easier it is to slouch, stick your head closer to the screen, or otherwise wreck your posture through abnormal positions. By taking breaks to stand or go for a brisk walk, you give your back, core, and shoulder muscles a chance to rest and allow yourself to resume a comfortable posture.
#4: Consider Foot Orthotics for Better Support
Finally, consider purchasing orthotic shoe inserts, which provide extra support to safeguard against sore arches and the duo of supination and overpronation. Shoe orthotics can also improve your balance, which in turn improves the so-called “kinetic chain” that exists when walking or otherwise moving.
Using orthopedic shoes to improve your balance and support makes it easier for your entire body to stay in alignment, from the top of your head all the way down to the soles of your feet. More arch support and less overpronation and supination thanks to cushioned shoes typically lead toward better body posture and less foot pain or discomfort.
Contact Cornerstone Chiropractic Today to Schedule an Appointment
Whether you’re experiencing chronic low-back pain or feel like your posture has been wreaking havoc on your neck health, the gentle, non-invasive back pain treatments at Cornerstone are for you!
Our neurological-based chiropractic care focuses on your overall wellness. Give us a call or make an appointment online to start living pain-free!