Yin and yang, work and play, day and night: everything needs balance in your life, and that includes your feet! When you have poor foot balance, this can throw your whole body off, causing problems in your feet, knees, hips, and back. These problems can be multiplied if you play high-impact sports like soccer, tennis, football, and cross country. By supporting the foot, you can achieve proper balance and alignment to get your body back in shape and free from pain.
Get Your Pronation Straight
In order to get your feet in balance, you need to know your pronation type: overpronation, excessive supination, or neutral. The pronation you want to achieve is neutral, since that means your foot and ankles form a straight line when you’re standing tall.
Overpronation is the tendency to roll your arches too far inward. This can happen during activities like walking or running, or simply when you stand. Believe it or not, this foot type is the most common. You might be able to tell if you overpronate by checking your shoes. If the instep side of the heel is worn down more than the outside, you may have this pronation type. Plantar fasciitis, metatarsal pain, and Achilles tendinitis are just some conditions that can result without proper treatment, which may involve custom orthotics to increase support and strength in your foot muscles.
Excessive supination is when the foot rolls outward too much. This can put too much pressure on the ankle bone, which juts out, and the outside of the foot. Again, check your shoes. If they’re more worn on the outside side and less on the inside, you may be supinating too much. Since the ankles are under a lot of pressure with this problem, you may have an increased risk of ankle sprains, stress fractures, and ligament damage. The best remedy for overpronation is flexible footwear and cushioned orthotics to lessen impact and shock.
Ways to Get Balanced
Proper running form can be a significant aid in preventing foot injuries while you’re playing sports, or just going on a Sunday jog. First, take a neutral stance by standing tall. To maintain the proper balance, your feet should point straight ahead. Make sure neither foot is in front of the other. Second, the space between your feet should only be about the distance of your fist.
Make sure your pelvis is neutral—meaning that it’s not tilted forward or back. Your tailbone should drop toward the ground, slightly engaging your core. Now, rise onto the balls of your feet and keep the same alignment. Remember that your tailbone should be low, engaging the abs.
Swing your arms in place and try to hold your neutral stance. You should really feel your core start to kick in now! If you practice this enough, you should develop a good idea of how you should feel when you run. Lastly, march in place and try to keep that same alignment, recognizing how lifting your legs affects your alignment and balance.
Another way to practice proper balance and alignment is to point your feet straight ahead. This works if you’re slightly pigeon toed or notice that your feet turn out when you walk, also known as duck feet. The way to teach your body to realign is by adopting a neutral stance and pointing your feet straight ahead—you may use a line on the sidewalk to guide you. If it feels awkward to have the correct position, it’s may be because your pelvis is weak and isn’t used to the proper alignment. Trust us, if you keep at it, you may be able to solve a lot of your foot and back problems naturally!
Foot balance can save you from a load of pain in the feet, knees, and back, when it’s practiced continually. If you need help for a foot problem, don’t fear! We have all the experts at Sierra Foot & Ankle to help you. Please call our office in Carson City, Nevada at (775) 783-8037 to make an appointment with Victoria L. Melhuish, DPM.
Photo Credit: Blanka via Pixabay.com