Tired, Achy Feet
Dr. Sam Dubé discusses tired, achy feet
Learn about the symptoms, causes, and benefits of different treatment options.
A common misconception is that shock forces generated when we walk, run, or stand for long periods of time cause tired, achy feet.
In reality, poor mechanics caused by footwear use cause tired, achy feet. Over time, footwear-trained poor mechanics become the maladapted norm. That means that poor foot function is observed when barefoot and not only when in shoes.
Each foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles, tendons, and millions of nerve endings.
The functional movement and stability of the feet are controlled by muscles that are activated by the brain in response to the sensory information from the nerve endings.
Foot-related muscles comprise two groups:
Intrinsic muscles: small muscles in the feet that primarily control ‘fine-tuned’ movements such as picking something up with the toes
Extrinsic muscles: larger muscles in the lower legs that are principally involved in propulsion and in control of the stability of the foot’s arch system, the foot’s adaption to terrain, and management of weight bearing forces.
When the extrinsic muscles do not do their job as a result of poor neuromuscular function, the intrinsic muscles attempt to assume the load, which causes them to overwork and fatigue, which leads to tired, achy feet.
Modern science has identified that the nervous system plays a critical role in stabilizing the feet and ankles when walking or running. It is now understood that poor foot function is a symptom of inefficient neuromuscular function caused by conventional footwear use. In fact, conventional footwear use causes poor neuromuscular function throughout the feet, legs, hips, and back, when:
the soles of the feet don’t receive the subtle, varied stimulus that the nervous system requires for healthy function,
snug toe boxes, stiff midsoles/outsoles/uppers and tight lacing restrict healthy foot movement, and
footwear midsoles / outsoles feature a concave supporting surface under the metatarsal heads.
To learn more about how footwear affects function and performance, click HERE.
The best way to prevent and treat tired, achy feet is to retrain healthy neuromuscular function and to use footwear that is soft, flexible, and roomier in the forefoot.
Conventional treatment methods for the arthritic foot
Since the late 1890s, the standard treatment for poor foot mechanics has been to artificially support the arches with an orthotic. Other conventional treatment options include:
Modern science has transitioned away from using long-term support and cushioning on any body part because it causes a progressive weakening of the body part being supported or cushioned.
The modern approach to treating metatarsalgia
Science has shown that merely challenging the body to “do its job” is the best way to restore and enhance function.
The modern approach to address poor neuromuscular function is to employ a “Proper Technique” rehabilitative therapy to regain healthy function. This approach is extensively used pre- and post-surgery and is also the foundation of virtually all sports training/rehabilitation programs. By employing a therapeutic approach, the feet become stronger and more stable, thereby addressing the cause of the poor foot mechanics that contribute to sore, tired feet.
Proper Technique therapies employ exercise that focuses on safely training healthy neuromuscular function, i.e., optimal mobility, muscle strength, stability, and alignment.
Proper Technique therapies require both Right Stimulus and Right Movement.
Right Stimulus occurs when the information that the brain receives from the senses triggers an efficient protective reflex function or Right Movement. The nerve endings in the soles of the feet play a critical role in providing the brain with the information required for optimal Right Movement throughout the feet, legs, hips, and back. When the brain receives insufficient or inaccurate information from the soles of the feet, the protective reflex function Right Movement will be ineffective or absent altogether. This is what happens when conventional footwear is worn. For more information on Right Stimulus and Right Movement, click HERE.
To therapeutically address the cause of sore, tired feet and to prevent symptoms from reoccurring, do the following:
Walk barefoot on natural terrain as much as possible. This provides the optimal Right Stimulus and allows for the Right Movement required for healthy neuromuscular function.
Use Biopods® Stimsoles® Footwear or Insoles. Biopods Footwear provides the ultimate Proper Technique shoe environment. Biopods Insoles improve the stimulus in your conventional footwear. Use in loosely laced, soft, flexible footwear with ample toe room that allows your arches and toes to rise easily for best results.
Consult with your healthcare practitioner to ask about employing soft tissue mobilization therapies to address the fibrotic scar tissue that may have formed prior to using Biopods.
For more information on what to expect when using Biopods, click HERE.