A progressive weakening of foot posture, especially the medial longitudinal arch, contributes to the development of a range of musculoskeletal disorders.
With the stability of the joints of the foot compromised, the overall balance and functionality of the kinetic chain gradually deteriorates, making it necessary for symptomatic care to be implemented in conjunction with etiological treatment.
This is further emphasised by published scientific evidence that links a weakened foot posture to a number of overuse injuries of the lower extremity.
One particular study that stands out in this regard, was conducted by Ben Yates and Shaun White for The American Journal of Sports Medicine.
By following a group of naval recruits during a 10-week training period, the authors monitored the development of medial tibial stress syndrome in the participants.
The biomechanical results of the study established that an overpronated foot type was more prevalent in the medial tibial stress syndrome group, suggesting that early intervention to control the unhealthy movement of the feet can help reduce the incidence of the condition.
In order to better understand the true causes of an improper foot posture, it is beneficial to create a medical framework by learning more about patient history, lifestyle, occupation and past/current health conditions.
Congenital factors predispose an individual to an abnormal foot structure at the time of birth itself. This could stem from either an inherent lack of development of the medial longitudinal arch or the existence of a vertical talus where the talus is abnormally positioned to the mid-foot.
Footwear choices can increase the risk of developing foot deformities such as hammertoes and hallux valgus, making it essential to select comfortable shoes which impart enough support and stability to all the digits of the foot.
In some cases, postural anomalies of the feet are associated with a secondary medical condition such as rheumatoid arthritis which systematically weakens the ligaments in the foot and ankle, or diabetes which creates a host of neuropathic complications which can have serious consequences on the lower limbs.
A report published by The New York Times cited around 120,000 foot-related injuries occurred each year because of occupational risk factors such as continuous standing for extended periods or walking long distances each day.
Performing high-impact exercises frequently or engaging in rigorous training programmes such as CrossFit with an unhealthy foot posture can also increase the strain on the feet, making them susceptible to a wide range of structural or functional problems over time.
The advantage of a customised approach in solving musculoskeletal disorders involves its consideration of anatomical variations, whilst treating any underlying biomechanical causes that could potentially hasten the development of other foot-related conditions in the future.
By implementing both rehabilitative and preventative measures to correct the root cause of the problem, postural and structural improvements will become prominent in the whole body.
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