Let’s talk about feet… more specifically, how we move them. Why? Because the quality of our heel-toe motion has a direct impact on our overall health. Dorsi-flexion is the movement of the foot in an upward direction while plantar flexion is the movement of the foot/toes in a downward direction toward the sole. Dorsi-flexion is often regarded as the most important of the degrees of freedom your body has at the ankle. This type of movement allows our shins to move forward in relation to our feet, which plays a critical role in correct body positioning.
According to Dan Williams, Director of Range Of Motion, “failure to achieve sufficient ankle dorsi-flexion will either cause the absolute inability to complete a movement, or will create a flow-on effect up the chain causing injurious situations in the knee and lumbar spine.” The chain he is referring to here is the kinetic chain (the way in which a human body moves). This concept is particularly relevant in physical therapy, sports medicine, neuro-rehabilitation and other areas of medicine that focus on the musculoskeletal system such as chiropractic.
We will use a cascading water fountain as an analogy. At the base of the water fountain is the pump that pumps the water up through the fountain and eventually out of the top as it cascades outwards. The pump symbolizes our feet. If it is not functioning properly, the water is not going to do what it is intended to do which is coarse up through the proper tubes to ultimately get a desired effect. If your feet are consistently moving improperly, with poor heel-toe motion, your sacrum (a triangular bone in the lower back formed from fused vertebrae and situated between the two hipbones of the pelvis) will also function improperly. This can cause a multitude of those injurious situations mentioned earlier. Your sacrum dictates what moves up from that point towards the shoulders. So when the sacrum malfunctions, it is going to wreak havoc on the chain of motion up your body and ultimately result in an insult to the body of some sort. Referring back to the fountain, it is important to mention the water symbolizes our cerebrospinal fluid. CSF is a clear watery substance associated with the nervous system that is partially responsible for removing toxins and debris from our bodies. This means that if our CSF is not flowing properly, toxins will tend to build up more rapidly and not get flushed out as they should. To sum this up, if the pump (our feet) is not functioning properly, it can have grave effects on the rest of the fountain (our nervous system).
Join us next time to discuss how we can ensure that our feet/ankles are functioning properly!
-RangeOfMotion.net (The Importance of Ankle Dorsiflexion)
-VeryWellHealth.com (Open and Closed Kinetic Chain)