Over time, stresses on the feet can deform them. One of the foot’s main functions is to absorb shock as the body’s weight shifts with each step. It does this through a complex process in which the arch of the foot flattens slightly. This absorbs and distributes the weight throughout the entire foot. There are two major problems that can occur in this mechanism:
• High Arch – The first occurs when the arch does not flatten at all. This typically occurs in a person with a high arch, called a Pes-Cavus foot. As the arch does not flatten, it absorbs shock poorly. Instead of spreading it throughout the entire foot, the weight of the body falls only on the heel and the bases of the toes. This increases stress on the foot. Furthermore, because the weight is not absorbed well in the foot, it radiates up the leg to other joints. Over time, this can cause pain in the knees, hips and lower back. Your chiropractor may use an orthotic to correct this.
• Flat Foot – A different problem results if the arch flattens too much, this is more common. It may also be known in lay terms as flat feet. In such cases, the weight distribution on the foot is too far on the medial (inside) side. A flat foot, or pronated foot as it is correctly called, is unstable and cannot maintain a correct arch. Over time, the weight of the body on an unstable foot will cause the bones of the foot to become misaligned. This can lead to the development bunions, hammertoes and other foot deformities, as well as shin,knee, hip and lower back pain. To address this problem your chiropractor may prescribe an orthotic.