Did you know your foot posture and footwear could be the cause and solution to your knee pain? The picture below demonstrates the impact foot posture can have on the knee, as well as the ankle, hip and even lower back!
What causes poor foot posture?
Poor foot posture can be caused by:
Loose ligaments within the foot and ankle
Weak muscles which control the arch of the foot (in particular the tibialis posterior, peroneals, flexor digitorum longus and flexor hallucis longus)
Reduced ankle dorsiflexion, often due to a history of sprained ankles or other ankle injury. Read more about this by clicking here
Poor awareness and control of the joints and muscles within the foot and ankle
Can these problems be fixed?
Many of these problems can be addressed, however in some people, external supports (e.g. orthotics) are required. Things that you can do at home include:
Stretching the calves and ankle joint if tight, ensuring you maintain a neutral foot posture while doing so. We will cover this in a future article very soon!Improving control of the joints and strengthening the muscles around the ankle and foot.
Developing awareness and control of the foot tripod (shown below) is a great place to start
Wearing appropriate footwear for your foot type, e.g. a foot with a flatter arch may benefit from a shoe with more arch support
The Foot Tripod
The foot tripod refers to three points on the bottom of the foot which should ideally make even contact with the ground when standing. These points are illustrated on the picture below:
It's common for the inner two parts to the tripod (1 and 3) to bear most weight. This results in a 'rolled-in' or pronated foot/ankle, causing the problems seen in the first picture of this article. If this sounds like your posture, try the following to help develop control of your foot and more evenly distribute the weight to all 3 points of the tripod:
Stand bare foot on a solid ground
Lift the arch of your foot by shortening the big toe (see picture below). The base of the big toe should slide towards your heel
Keep all 3 points of the tripod in contact with the ground. The base of the big toe will often want to lift off the ground as the arch rises
Progress by trying this exercise during functional activities such as during a bodyweight or weighted squat