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A set of physical changes in the body that affect posture and visual appearance are known as malalignment syndrome by health care professionals.
Poor posture can present different symptoms of malalignment syndrome in different individuals. In some cases, the posture problems can be associated with pain and instability that can affect overall movement.
Misalignment of the shoulders, back, torso, hips, and/or knees are observed in poor posture. This posture can cause tension in the muscles, tendons and ligaments, followed by imbalance in the weight loading patterns. This affects range of motion in joints of the lower and upper body.
What appears as poor posture, unlevelled shoulders and hips, is clinically caused by shifts in the way the legs are positioned. For example, the shin and thigh bones of one leg can rotate inward, creating a change in weight distribution which stresses the joints abnormally.
The postural imbalance increase stress placed on the feet, ankles, knees, hips and low back. Over time, added stress on the lower body may increase the risk of injuries, especially while doing physical activities like running.
Leg length difference (LLD), functional scoliosis and flat feet can be considered as potential causes or risk factors of poor posture.
The increased pressure placed on the feet may lead to the development of flat feet. A flatfoot posture causes abnormal distribution of weight to the feet which may cause bunions, hallux limitus/rigidus or plantar fasciitis over time.
Additionally, a flatfoot condition may be associated with misalignment of the hips and low back. The imbalance created by flat feet can cause the hips to tilt forward which produces an exaggerated curve in the spine.
Treatment programmes for poor posture involve correcting the postural imbalance to restore normal structure and function of the spine and hips.
Foot insoles such as MASS4D® are often prescribed to help realign the body.
MASS4D® insoles can help support the feet in their optimal posture to restore postural alignment from the feet up. This helps limit rotation of the shin and thigh bones, which in turn minimises misalignment in the hips and low back. The reduction of stress on the lower body allows patients to perform sports activities with fewer injury concerns.
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Reference: Schamberger, W. (2013) The Malalignment Syndrome: Diagnosing and treating a common cause of acute and chronic pelvic, leg and back pain. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Reference: Sims, V. Malalignment Syndrome. Gainesville Physical Therapy. Retrieved from: http://www.sidysfunction.com/
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