Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes…
… do you remember that song?
After an assessment with a patient and my explanation of his presentation (left hip and IT band pain with running that prevented him from continuing to run; coupled with a past history of left ankle sprains and a right shoulder injury) and he asked me if I remembered that song.
My answer was “why Yes!, of course” – his comment to me was “ I suddenly remember, but some how I forgot over the last 40 years”.
Feet are one part of the body that are rarely considered when it comes to alignment. Or better yet are rarely understood.
The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and nerves. Put together, both feet contain over ¼ of the bones in the body.
The human body is an amazing entity, and it does so many incredible things. One thing in particular its very good at is compensating.
Have you ever had an injury and then a few weeks later the opposite side of you body or a totally different joint is aching? Chances are this is a form of compensation. The body is very good at trying to protect itself from injury or from further injury, but in doing so can create other form of dysfunctions.
In practice I see a lot of compensation present itself in gait assessments (walking evaluation). This might be seen as a poorly placed foot, early heel lift, minimal heel contact, hike of one hip, to reduced arm swing on one side, all the way up to swaying of the upper body or a tilt to the head.
When I see these compensations, that provided me with a pretty good map of the body and where to begin looking for possible reasons why these compensations are there.
From your noes to your toes those multiple ankle sprains in your youth sports; that one time when you stubbed your big toe or that time eons ago when you dropped something on your foot. These forgotten ailments can and generally contribute 90% of the time have something to do with a present-day injury.
Upper body injuries, trunk or hip discomforts, all of these areas can impact your feet and how your feet and body function during weight bearing activities.
Is your balance compromised?
Is the bone on your great toe sticking out more?
Is the wear pattern on your shoes really odd?
From head to toe, the alignment of the body is imperative to function.
If something is not feeling right, not working right, or that injury is just not getting better, I would suggest starting from the ground and working your way up. That may be just the ticket to alignment from head to toe.