- Stand on a hard surface with your bare feet.
- Close your eyes.
- Lock your knees.
- Keep your feet perfectly straight.
- Arms at your side, lean your body forward in all of the positions of an imaginary clock for ten seconds in each position. Start with 12, leaning forward slightly, then lean over to the right to 1:00, and then continue following around the clock. Hold each position for a full ten seconds.
When you slowly lean forward, notice how your toes begin to grab onto the floor to prevent you from falling over. Your toes must curl under to prevent your body from falling over. If your body is in this position for months or years, this is how the hammertoe condition will be created. As you move toward the right, you will begin to feel pressure, strain, and stress on different parts of your feet and ankles. Notice how the calves, shins, knees, and even the quads begin to get in on the act of feeling stressed, pressured, and unbalanced.
Improper vertical load of your body is how all of the pain conditions of the feet and ankles are created
Having a head-forward position will throw off your whole body. An elevated and rotated pelvic girdle will ask your feet and ankles to do extra work, creating certain overloads, stresses and pressures causing the heel spur, plantar fasciitis, the neuromas, turf toe, and a myriad of injury conditions. In addition, the bones of the feet and ankles will be in the wrong position, which will cause wearing of the cartilage between the bones of the feet and ankles.
The biomechanics between the hip joint, knee joint, and foot and ankle should move the entire leg in the path of a wheel.
Any misaligned joint will cause the wheel motion to be wobbly, which, as with a car or a bicycle will compromise performance. Can you imagine running a marathon with this “wobbly wheel” condition? Beyond performance, the stress on the feet and ankles will contribute to all of the pain and injury conditions that follow. In other words, there is always a compromised, positional reason for the development of these conditions.
Some common foot and ankle conditions:
symptoms typically include tight calf muscles and a tight or sore Achilles tendon. Your plantar fascia is located on the bottom of your foot and runs from your heel to your toes. The calf muscle connects to the Achilles tendon, which then attaches to the plantar fascia on the heel. The Achilles tendon will begin to pull on the heel attachment causing friction. Friction results in bone growth, eventually causing pain. When these conditions exist, it is just systematic evidence of improper vertical load. This improper vertical load will overload the plantar fascia causing stress, pulling, tears, and inflammation. The antidote for this condition is to correct the improper vertical load. The plantar fasciitis will quickly go away.
Achilles tendon injury or rupture
Your Achilles tendon is part of the “trio of pain” between the calf muscle, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia. Where the majority pull or pressure exists between these three areas depends on the vertical load position of the body. When the majority pull is focused on the Achilles tendon, this is when the injury or rupture of the tendon will take place.
Some precursor symptoms of the Achilles tendon injury or rupture will be soreness and tightness of the tendon and/or the calf muscle.
This is a very serious warning signal that something more serious is coming your way. DO NOT IGNORE THESE SYMPTOMS! Remember “The TEST” in the beginning of this section? The antidote for this condition is to correct the improper vertical load. The Achilles tendon pain will quickly go away.
Bone spurs (also known as osteophytes) are bony projections that develop on the surface of the bone. They are caused by friction, whether bone to bone, ligament on bone, or tendon on bone. However, the bigger issue is the improper vertical load that is causing the bones, ligaments, and tendons to be misaligned and to rub against each other. This undue pressure will cause more bone to form in a concentrated spot on the foot such as a bunion or heel spur.
A bunion is an abnormal enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe, characterized by a painful, bony bump. The affected toe is often curved outward, moving the bones of the feet out of alignment. This mis-alignment is caused by improper vertical load (refer to “THE TEST”) Two things happen when this undue pressure is on the foot. The muscles, ligaments, and tendons will be offset, and secondly, there will be concentrated amount of pressure in the area of the bunion causing the bodies response mechanism to grow more bone. There are many Doctors and Podiatrists who believe bunions are hereditary. The reason for this belief is because when the bunions are operated on, they will slowly but surely return. The real reason for their return is because the very cause of the bunion growth is never addressed. (improper vertical load)
Bursitis is painful inflammation of the bursae, the fluid-filled sacs that reduce friction between bones, tendons, and muscles. When the bones of the foot and ankle are in a misaligned position, it will place pressure on the bursae sacks causing the inflammation and pain. Pain may be accompanied by swelling, tenderness or loss of movement. Improper Vertical load is the culprit.
Stress fracture is exactly what it sounds like. To much stress on a specific bone of the foot causes a hairline crack in the bone and it can worsen during activity over time. Stress fracture symptoms include pain, which increases with activity and decreases after rest, in addition to swelling and tenderness. Anatomical Therapy TM can reduce the pressure on the bone and allow the bone to heal quickly.
Hammertoe/Mallet Toe/Claw Toe are all deformities that cause the shape of the toes to curve. Hammertoe affects the toe’s middle joint; claw toe affects the toe’s middle and end joints; mallet toe affects the toe’s end joint. These conditions are caused by long-term improper vertical load, though other factors, such as improper footwear, can also contribute to these conditions.
Heel pain & heel spurs
Heel pain is marked by discomfort when the heel bears weight. Heel spurs – small, bony growths on the heel bone, are the result of 2 things. The first is FRICTION! This friction could be bone to bone, ligament on bone, or tendon on bone. This undue friction is caused by the improper vertical load causing the bones, ligaments, and tendons to be mis-aligned and rubbing on each other in an unnatural way.
The second effect of improper vertical load will cause undue pressure on a specific spot. This will ask your body to grow more bone in the concentrated spot on the foot that has the increased pressure such as a bunion or heel spur.
Metatarsalgia is inflammation in the ball of the foot, just behind the toes. Symptoms include sharp burning or aching pain in the ball of the foot and in the toes that gets worse with activity and better with rest. Metatarsalgia is also marked by the feeling of having a rock in your shoe. The improper vertical load of the body is the culprit of this condition.
Morton’s neuroma is the thickening of the tissue around the nerve or a callous on the nerve itself. The location is usually between the bases of the toes (mostly between the third and fourth toes). Symptoms can include the feeling of a rock in your shoe, burning pain, or numbness. The reason for the “callous” on the nerve between the toes is, as your body takes on a poor vertical load position. This forces the bones of the foot to mis-align. This mis- alignment places undue pressure on the nerve and surrounding tissue causing inflammation, pressure and the nerve callous.
Turf Toe is inflammation of the tendons around the big toe. This condition often causes pain underneath the toe, in the ball of the foot, and may also present swelling, bruising, and difficulty bending or straightening the big toe. Long-term improper vertical load causes this stress on the big toe, resulting in inflammation and pain.
Sprains and strains are stretched or torn ligaments, the fibrous bands of tissue in joints that connect bones. Sprains cause pain and swelling and are ranked by three degrees of severity: first degree (a slight tear or stretch), second degree (a partial or incomplete tear), or third degree (a complete tear or rupture). A strain is a stretched or torn muscle or tendon. Strains also cause pain and swelling and are ranked by the same three degrees of severity as sprains. In a contact sport, these injuries can be caused by trauma. In other words, a football player gets slammed to the ground in an unnatural position causing the injury. In a non-contact sport such as tennis, these injuries are caused by the static position of the body being compromised, which places unnatural stress on the ligament or tendon. This stress, when pushed over the edge, will cause the injury.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is the loss of movement or sensation in the ankle and foot and is caused when the tibial nerve, which stretches down the back of the leg to the inner ankle, becomes pinched. As with carpal tunnel syndrome, the nerve is pinched because of the compromised skeletal position.
Tendonitis (or tendinitis) is an inflammation of the tendons, the thick, rope-like cords of tissue that connect muscle to bone. Tendonitis symptoms include pain in the tendon area and sometimes loss of motion. When the skeleton is twisted and contorted in its static position (pelvic tilt), it increases the stress or pull on a tendon. When the body is put into motion, such as running, basketball, tennis, or soccer, this undue stress will create the inflammation or injury of the tendon. First we need to address the compromised skeletal position and then the injury can heal and repair.
Flat feet (or fallen arches, along with excessive pronation of the foot) is a condition in which the arch of the foot collapses, causing the ankle to turn inward and downward. The collapse can be full, partial, or anything in between. Some people are told they need orthotics to correct the falling arch or pronation. The real root issue is the hip joint position and the weakness of the deep structural muscles around the hip joint and pelvis. Correct the position and weaknesses, and your falling arch will correct, and your walking pattern will greatly improve.
While orthotics may help initially, they will artificially force your feet into a position which will now tell your hip joints and knee joints to “adjust” into an even more compromised position and movement pattern, and trouble will slowly but surely come your way. This will absolutely create other pain and injury conditions that will surface months later. You probably won’t put two and two together, but orthotics will be the culprits of the future problems.