Chances are you’ve heard that your foot has 3 arches – Medial, Lateral, and Transverse.
Chances are that no one told you how significant the lateral arch is.
Well, in terms of foot pain there are many different types such as:
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Tendonitis (Achilles, peroneal, and posterior tibial)
- Corns and Calluses
We won’t go into the technicalities of these here, but the point is that addressing the lateral arch can be helpful. Watch the video.
At MedicinEvolution we’re not symptom based, and so I’m using the list of foot issues above as a guide for those whose pain may have been diagnosed or classified. The problem with classifications is that we assume cures and fixes come with them and for me that’s not empowering. I want my clients, friends, and people who seek me out to gain insight, inspiration, and have something to implement. Diagnoses don’t do that very well, I guess that’s why people see me more as a coach than a therapist.
Education and Empowerment Should Always be Your Take Aways.
Disclaimer: pain is muti-factorial, meaning structural imbalances are not the only cause or correlation to pain, but to keep things simple here we’ll stick to structure because it often is significant.
Back to the lateral arch. The significant thing is that structurally the two other arches rest on top of the lateral arch. As a result, if the integrity of the lateral arch is compromised in any way pain may result.
How does disfunction occur in the lateral arch?
I see it most often with externally rotated legs. When the leg and toes are rotated outward the lateral arch literally shortens. With shortening, structures are fixated, lose a healthy full range of motion, and various functions may become compromised.
Another way the lateral arch can become jeopordized is with foot supination, in other words, using the lateral arch as the dominant part of the foot in walking. With supination the lateral arch starts to roll under the foot.
It’s not uncommon that a lateral arch will both shorten and roll under.
Either way, you can be proactive in changing this pattern because after all, it is a pattern that has simply perpetuated itself over time and use. Here are a few things you can do to change these patterns and restore foot health.
- Walk with toes straight forward, heels straight back. This might feel really awkward for the first few days or weeks, especially if you’re experiencing pain due to a lateral arch issue, because it’s most likely an old deep pattern that isn’t limited to your foot but may go up your leg even affecting hips and low back.
- While standing, look down at your toes. Compare one foot’s toes to the other. Are they the same? What’s different? If your toes on the painful side are pointing outward then gently, but actively, direct your toes towards your midline or even your opposite side foot. Now take a walk. Did that change the sensation?
- Look at the soles of your shoes for how you wear them down. If the heels and/or lateral edges are worn down try walking more with your big toes.
- A single foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles and tendons. In one word that means, your feet are made to move. When the lateral arch is compromised something isn’t moving. Find the lack of motion. Is there a lack of springiness in the arches? A limited movement in any part of the gait cycle? An overuse of the lateral heel? Find what isn’t moving, and wake it up, get it to move by using it in a different way than you have before. This is really about heightening your awareness and breaking habits and patterns.
I hope that was helpful!