May the force be with you

The only statistically significant change orthotics made were on the forces occurring through the feet!

Where do these forces come from?

If you were paying attention to science in high school, you will remember the equation F= MA, or force equals mass, (our body) times acceleration, (from gravity).

This force is generated at all times and affects your feet particularly in weight-bearing, when you are standing, walking and significantly when you’re running.

This force is transmitted through your skeletal structure with a supportive network of soft tissues, (ligaments, tendons, fascia, muscles, etc). All this provides stability to assist the transmission of force when you move, that is, in dynamic function. This amazing ability is called Tensegrity.

Wikipedia says “Tensegrity, tensional integrity or floating compression, is a structural principle based on the use of isolated components in compression inside a net of continuous tension, in such a way that the compressed members (usually bars or struts) do not touch each other and the prestressed tensioned members (usually cables or tendons) delineate the system spatially.” Wow!

No body’s perfect, however. We all have some skeletal misalignment from our genetic heritage. A minor misalignment is usually no problem but if you have something more significant like a twist in the spine, (scoliosis), legs that are bowed, (an excessive internal / external twist in the lower legs) or a leg length difference greater than 6 mm, the placement of the force will not be optimum and will force your body to compensate. Compensation of skeletal misalignment will often place forces on other parts of the body.

So, where does the force go? It travels through your legs and into the foot, to the ground. Not only does the foot have to adapt to the body’s misalignments, it also has to be able to function on lots of different surfaces, like walking on the side of a hill, or in sand or over rocks.

Leonardo da Vinci said “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art “and I wholeheartedly agree with him!

To return to our high school science, another law of physics we learnt was Newton’s third law, ”For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

As bizarre as this sounds, as you place your body weight onto the ground through your foot, there is an opposite and equal force from the ground pushing into the foot; we call this ‘ground reaction force’. Ground reaction force loads the foot from below, while your body is loading the foot from above.

If the force occurs on structures that are not able to withstand them and for a prolonged period of time, the risk of injury is significantly increased. If an injury does occur and the excessive forces are not reduced or removed a chronic pain or only partial healing will result. When the healing tissues are exposed to the excessive forces and become reinjured, a cycle of healing and reinjury occurs where the body never returns to the state it was prior to the injury.

May the force be with you!

The effect of force on your body is why rest and gradual and paced return into activity is so important. You need time to allow the injured tissues to adapt to the stresses and be able to withstand them.

Excessive forces can be reduced, managed and redirected.  Your muscle flexibility and strength, your joint mobility, footwear choice and orthotics may all play a part.

At Total Care Podiatry we have specialist equipment and expertise in musculoskeletal podiatry and physiotherapy to analyse, diagnose and address the excessive forces your body is trying to cope with. Our holistic approach will help you through your rehabilitation and reduce your risk of further injury in the future.

Book online or Call Total Care Podiatry on 5223 1531.

1. Blake and Denton 1985, Donatelli et al 1988,Mororas & Hodge 1993, and many more.

2. “Influence of a custom foot orthotic intervention on lower extremity dynamics in healthy runners”, Christopher McLean, Irene MaClay Davis, Joseph Hamill 2006



WARNING: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional podiatric advice. Treatment will vary between individuals depending upon your diagnosis and presenting complaint. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a Podiatrist.

Your toned summer body starts with your winter workout!

inter’s here and don’t we know it! cold mornings and nights make it too easy to stay in and let our regular exercise take a break. Your toned summer body starts with hard work now!

Come spring we’re feeling a bit fluffy around the edges and ready to get back into our routine, the sneakers are dusted off and away we go. The joints are a bit stiff and you’re out of breath before you’ve made it past the end of the street. It’s now you wish you’d kept up the exercise through winter.

What can you do to keep up with exercise during the cooler months?

There are many options including working out in the comfort of your own home or joining a gym to help keep you fighting fit.  Adding strength training to the mix, instead of being too focused on the usual cardio workout, will have you reaping the rewards for years to come.

Strength training is not a new thing, however many people, women in particular, tend to shy away from it, thinking it’s only for the hard core gym goers. There have been many studies into the benefits of strength training in its varied forms with outstanding results on its benefits, not only to your physical health, but the flow on affect it also has on your mental health.

Strength Training – an investment in your future!

  • Improved muscle strength and tone helps prevent injury (when the exercises are preformed correctly) and increases your balance, flexibility and coordination
  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis, particularly in women. As women age hormonal changes result in the natural loss of bone density, hence increasing the chance of developing osteoporosis. Strength training can help bone strength and slow bone deterioration later in life
  • Helps prevent rolling over on your ankles; very important if you play sports like netball, dance, football etc
  • Leads to increased muscle mass to fat ratio, allowing your body to burn calories more efficiently and resulting in healthy weight loss and maintenance
  • Helps with aches and pain in your back, legs and feet
  • Can result in a better night’s sleep
  • Can increase your self-esteem

Getting Started

If you’re new to strength training, or even just gym workouts, or if you’ve had injuries in the past, it is always advisable to speak to a health professional first so to get a clear picture how to get strong without risking injury. Most health professionals will work in with your personal trainer, exercise physiologist or gym instructor to ensure you get the best outcome.

At Total Care Podiatry we have musculoskeletal podiatry and physiotherapy expertise in assessing your individual risk of musculoskeletal injury that may occur in taking up strength training.

We’ll work with you and your personal trainer so you’re able to reach your exercise goals with the least risk of injury.

Book online or call Total Care Podiatry on 5223 1531.

WARNING: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional advice. Treatment will vary between individuals depending upon your diagnosis and presenting complaint. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a Podiatrist or Physiotherapist.