Abridged from www.huffingtonpost.com.
The shocking increase in foot and ankle injury we are seeing today is likely due to the following factors:
Fitness has become a veritable religion amongst Baby Boomers who are much more physically active than their parents were. The increased stress and pounding on the feet, in the name of improved fitness and weight loss, has caused an increase in foot and ankle injuries and repetitive-stress related disorders.
We are seeing an increase in degenerative disorders such as arthritis, neuropathies, peripheral vascular diseases, and chronic inflammation in its many forms. There are many contributing factors to problems like these, but one of the most important is the increased toxic load modern man is exposed to through poor diet and environmental influences. Exposure to poisonous compounds in our diet and environment lead to increased free radical formation (also known as oxidative stress, a topic I will discuss in more depth in subsequent blogs), a weakened immune system, and may ultimately lead to the expression of genes that set the stage for degenerative illness. When the body is under constant assault this way, it becomes very difficult for it to repair itself efficiently.
Another important factor is the surfaces we walk around on. In mankind’s infinite wisdom, we have covered the Earth with concrete and asphalt, created homes with hardwood floors or tile, and designed shoes that crowd the foot and hamper proper foot function. The end result is that the “ground reactive force” placed on the foot (the impact the foot must absorb during usual walking) is way beyond the physiologic capabilities inherent in its structure.
The foot and ankle complex is a miracle of design and function and if left to function on natural surfaces, would not be subjected to these abnormal stresses, which ultimately lead to pathology and pain. Our modern way of life does little to support our feet and much to damage them. The result is foot problems like plantar fasciitis.
But there is good news: By learning to treat our feet and support them properly we can heal from our foot problems, or, you might say, we can get back on our feet again!