Do You See Strange Wear Patterns on the Heels of Your Shoes? Understand What Diagnosis this May Imply for You

Sports and Running Chiropractor Bethlehem PAHave you ever noticed the heel of your shoe wearing out in a strange pattern? Maybe your shoes are worn out on the back outside edges?

“So what?” you may be thinking. Shoes wear out.

Yes, they do. But the problem is not the shoes. Shoes can always be replaced. The problem is, this may be a sign of poor function of the joints in your feet. This condition may also adversely cause pain and dysfunction in the joints in your ankles, knees, hips and even back.

If the insides of your heels show greater wear than the outsides, odds are you are seeing signs that your feet are over-pronating when you are walking.

Like a squeaky hinge, when your foot constantly moves in a pronation pattern, you’ll notice a looser, more prone to injury ankle. You might even notice a bunion or sore big toe and some knee or hip pain on that side of your body.

If a doctor ever told you that you or your family member has flat feet, it’s important to note that flat foot syndrome is often a big factor determining if somebody will over-pronate.

Some people experience no pain from having flat feet. However, flat feet can cause misalignment elsewhere in the body, leading to other problems like back pain or joint impingement. The problems arising from misalignments in the body may include: plantar fasciitis (pain in the heel), Achilles tendonitis, knee pain, shin pain, low back pain, bunions, corns and calluses. The feet may also tire easily.

Flat feet (sometimes referred to as “fallen arches”) are not difficult to spot. It is a condition where there is either no arch or a very low arch to one or both feet. The inside of the foot is lifted off the ground in people with normal arches; whereas, someone with flat feet will have their entire foot flat on the ground. This can sometimes lead to over-pronation, in which the foot rolls over towards the inside.

Flat feet are somewhat common, with approximately 20% of the population having them. They can occur at any age, and are sometimes due to a congenital problem. In adults, it is often caused by a lack of physical activity, or can be a result of obesity.

Having flat feet can put a lot of stress on your ankles.  If your feet are subjected to repetitive micro-trauma, such as when walking or running on hard surfaces regularly, you can sustain damage to the posterior tibial tendon (PTT). This tendon is responsible for keeping the arch in position. Other conditions that can weaken this tendon are pregnancy, arthritis and trauma or foot fractures.

Many young children have what is called “flexible flat feet,” meaning that their feet are flat when standing, but if they rise up on their toes, the arch appears. These children will usually develop an arch as they grow into adulthood.

If flat feet cause no pain and there is no evidence of other problems being created, there is nothing to worry about.

If you are experiencing pain in your feet or other areas of your body that may stem from your flat feet, there are a few treatment options and recommendations.

First, although it may be a good idea to get special orthotics for your shoes for support, it is equally important for your feet to get exercise. If your feet are constantly supported by orthotics, the muscles supporting the arch will atrophy even further. When you are at home, try to go shoeless as often as possible. And, if you are lucky enough to live near a beach, walking on sand is one of the best workouts there are to strengthen your feet.

Also, avoid high-impact sports that may put a strain on your feet.

If you are a woman, do not wear high heels. Besides the stress on the ankles, high heels negate the effectiveness of the arches in the feet and put considerable stress on your lower back.

While you cannot change your anatomy, you can change the patterns of motion stemming from your muscles and joints. These parts of your anatomy are the powertrains and flexible glue of the body, that when functioning well, keep you moving energetically and feeling great. These are the areas where a chiropractor is skilled.

Misaligned bones can contribute to painful conditions. Sometimes bone misalignment is the reason for secondary pain in areas such as the knees, hips and lower back. We perform specific and pain-free adjustments to realign the bones and restore proper motion where it has become restricted and painful due to your flat feet or from something else. These adjustments strengthen your body frame. Get access to our complimentary foot, ankle and knee evaluation.