The Foot-Spine Connection
There’s a proverb that says “Don’t skimp on the things that separate you from the
ground.” But just how important is foot support?
By now, most of us realize how important our spine is. There are 26
bones in the spine, allowing it to bear compressive forces that would
collapse an unsegmented and straight column. In fact, this is why a
straightened, degenerative spine can more easily buckle and cause the inside
of the disc material to herniate to the outside.
There are 26 bones in the foot, just as many as the entire spine. This is because the feet are designed to balance forces before they get to knees and
hip and ultimately the pelvis. The feet are fascinating! The ankle joint has the
capability to glide forward and backward, while the joint just below allows it to glide
side to side.
In the same way that our spine can deform and need correction, our feet can deform. This can be because of genetics or the result of walking on unnatural
surfaces like pavement and concrete. Often patients who have chronic low back issues or sciatic pain also have problems with their feet.
Pronation of the foot can cause rotation of the pelvis leading to S shaped side to side curves in the spine. A big difference in arch height from one foot to the other can cause the low back to tilt to one side or the other in order to compensate. Placing more balance on one foot over the other will cause the pelvis to drop to one side.
You’ll often hear me say, “support the feet, level the pelvis, and unwind the spine.” Since your feet bear the load of your body and contain just as many bones as your spine, it’s evident they are crucial to total body wellness.