April 29, 2013

SISTERS, OR – Active adults experiencing back pain, hip pain, or knee pain might consider looking a bit lower on the body – at their feet – to find the source of their discomfort, says Barrett Ford, owner and physical therapist at Step & Spine Physical Therapy in Sisters and Redmond. “Pain in the back, spine, hips and knees can often be due to an abnormality in the feet or gait,” said Ford. “You must take into consideration the whole kinetic chain, from the feet up through the body. Knowing what’s going on globally, starting with the feet, can often be the key to identifying the underlying causes of pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body.”

Bones of the Foot

This is why, as the weather warms and outdoor activity begins to peak, Ford and his team are currently offering free foot pain assessments in both his Sisters and Redmond offices. Call to set up an appointment.

An improper step brought on by issues in strength, balance, flexibility, gait and improper footwear, Ford says, can lead to painful foot conditions such as bunions, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, to name just a few. These conditions, along with the issues that caused them, can create problems for the knees, hips and spine.

“We often take our feet for granted until they start to hurt,” Ford said. “It’s at this point when the rest of our bodies are most susceptible to injury because, to compensate for the pain and perhaps a lack of flexibility or proper movement, more of the impact and stress, which would normally be absorbed by the feet, is transferred up through our muscles and joints.”
Ford advocates stopping these potential chain reactions it its tracks – quite literally. As a physical therapist, he’s able to analyze a person’s foot type and gait, then suggest footwear specifically designed for the shape of his or her feet. He and his staff are also trained to identify deficiencies in strength, flexibility, balance and musculoskeletal makeup that might be affecting the feet.

“Our feet our amazing systems, each made up of 26 bones, 33 muscles and 100 ligaments designed for shock absorption and propulsion,” Ford said. “By achieving a proper balance between flexibility and strength, plus wearing footwear appropriate for your type of foot, your feet will feel great – and of course, the rest of your body will benefit, as well.”