My father would tell me if you start off on the wrong foot, it is hard to finish well. My dad was, of course, speaking figuratively. So when I tell you that you are starting off on the wrong foot and you will not finish well, I am speaking literally.

The foot is only second to the hand for afferentation or input into the spinal cord and brain. That means the orchestra leader is telling other parts of the body how to react.

The foot is an amazing adapter; it deforms itself to absorb our mass and momentum as it crashes into the ground. Then, within fractions of a second, the foot adapts into a rigid foundation for the body to propel itself.

The foot converts its ground reaction and forces into inward twisting of the lower leg and upper thigh. Most biomechanists feel this conversion is the most important motion in the body. It is the key that turns on the ignition that starts the body. Without this conversion, the whole body, especially the knee and hip, is at a giant disadvantage.

Arguments can easily be made for shoulder dysfunction or even headaches linked to foot dysfunction. It seems like a daunting task to solve any problem within a chain reaction. The key is to base care on motion faults and not symptoms. The healthcare provider must see problems from a holistic point of view because there is so much intra-connection that links motion in the body.

As I see it now in health care, a great problem is being driven too much by symptoms. So, for example, if I go to the orthopedic surgeon with knee pain, it will consist of an evaluation of my knee. That will never be adequate; as you are starting to see, the foot may be a huge part of my knees’ dysfunction. So I believe that if someone is treating you and they only evaluate and treat the area of complaint, consider leaving that provider.

The key point to remember is the foot has such tremendous abilities in movement and control. This giftedness makes it a prime suspect in pain and problems. Patients, of course, would always like their area of complaint checked out, and rightfully so. It is critical to keep in mind that the area of complaint can be a culprit, but it is the victim most of the time. The foot often won’t tell on itself but creates havoc upstream when it gets into trouble.

Brian Rafool

Brian Rafool


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