“The human body is the ultimate healer – a title belonging to no therapist.” – Gary Ward, author and founder of Anatomy in Motion
If you are like most people, you know that it is probably impossible to go through life without experiencing pain. Whether from strain, injury, illness, or disease, pain can come and go, and it can be mild or even excruciating.
Sometimes, pain is beneficial or necessary, such as in childbirth or after a strenuous workout. But too often, pain arises from dysfunctional movement and can even lead to chronic pain over time.
The Dynamics of Gait
A normal walking gait in humans is superbly economical and efficient, according to experts and researchers.
In fact, an article from Science Daily noted,
“Humans, other great apes and bears are among the few animals that step first on the heel when walking, and then roll onto the ball of the foot and toes. Now, a University of Utah study shows the advantage: Compared with heel-first walking, it takes 53 percent more energy to walk on the balls of your feet, and 83 percent more energy to walk on your toes.”
However, while the heel-down posture increases the economy of walking, it does not improve the economy of running. This is why many elite athletes, whether sprinters or distance runners, learn to run on the balls of their feet and not land on their heels, as do people who run barefoot.
The article goes on to quote University of Utah biology Professor David Carrier,
“We are not efficient runners. In fact, we consume more energy to run than the typical mammal our size. But we are exceptionally economical walkers.
This study suggests that one of the things that may explain such economy is the unusual structure of our foot. The whole foot contacts the ground when we walk. We have a big heel. Our big toe is as long as our other toes and is much more robust. Our big toe also is parallel to and right next to the second toe.
These features are distinct among apes and provide the mechanical basis for economical walking. No other primate or mammal could fit into human shoes.”
For most people, walking and even running are natural activities that do not cause pain or discomfort. However, a problem for some people – athletes or not – is that an improper or dysfunctional gait can lead to pain issues.
Walk This Way
Your feet contain a quarter of all the bones in your body and they are absolutely essential for locomotion and allowing us to move about. But they can also become susceptible to various types of stress, such as poorly fitting footwear, improper gait, or bad posture.
Any of these can eventually lead to compensatory movement patterns that end up causing discomfort, pain, and even, in some cases, restricted movement or disability.
Some common symptoms of gait issues include:
- painful knees
- sore feet
- leg pain
- sore hips
- leg or foot pain during physical activity
- discomfort walking or standing
One of the biological wonders of the human foot is that it is an engineering marvel. And, because gait is a biomechanical function, it can be analyzed, assessed, and often easily corrected.
And that’s where Anatomy in Motion, or AiM, enters in.
AiM is a technique for tracking movement through the human gait cycle (walking). We can create a “map” of human movement and we are able to see what every joint is doing through your gait cycle.
By assessing movement through the whole body from your foot to your skull, we can identify movement compensations that are likely causes of pain and dysfunction.
The AiM process typically starts with your feet.
Once we have completed your initial examination and assessment, we analyze the way your feet and the rest of your body moves in three dimensions. We check your static posture, dynamic posture, your gait, foot pressures, and center of mass.
Using this process, we have been able to work with patients to eliminate painful conditions that have stemmed from their feet and gait.
Walking Pain-Free With Pain and Performance Solutions
When dealing with chronic pain, the first step in recovery and, ultimately, pain relief is when we get to know you and your pain issues. Once you make your first appointment, we’ll want to learn about your present discomfort as well as any history of pain.
After providing you with a full examination, we can determine which form of treatment is needed to help you on your road to recovery.
As we noted previously, our bodies will try to compensate for pain, and we often find that we can get through the day with less pain. However, because our bodies have shifted that pain around to compensate for our discomfort, this often leads to other areas of pain.
Getting chronic pain relief with therapies such as Anatomy in Motion and Active Release Technique® can only begin when we can understand where your pain started. That could mean it started previously with another injury you might have sustained.
Your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. Ultimately, getting your body working properly and healthy is the only way to achieve total recovery. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any, and all questions that you may have.
You can reach us at (707) 636-4404 or by filling out our online contact form.