Do you experience knee pains? Maybe it is your hips? Hips feel fine, then check your ankles. Don’t forget, another pain factor could be your back. Yes, they can be all inter-related. I know for me, when I’m seated for long periods, I feel the urge to stretch my legs. When you stand after a long time sitting and feel tightness, joint stiffness, swelling, hip, knee and ankle pain, or other pain in your lower extremities; legs, knees, ankles or feet, it is a reaction to lack of motion.
Pains in the Lower Limbs?
There are many causes of hip, leg, knee, and ankle pain. Pain experienced can vary from a mild annoying ache, to severe intense pain, which occurs anywhere between the hip and foot. In the majority of cases, the causes of the pain are able to be linked by the relationship of nerves, muscles, ligaments, and bones, in the interplay of the surrounding anatomy.
Frequently, symptoms affecting the hip and leg, are the result of dysfunction referred from the lower back (lumbar), and pelvic region. As a result, slight loss of proper movement of the bones and joints, can interfere with the healthy working of your joints, and the nerves that pass through it. This can lead to pain, which maybe of gradual onset, or it may worsen progressively, or suddenly. The symptoms maybe localised, only affecting a small area, or could involve the whole leg. They be constant, or intermittent, and be aggravated by certain positions or movements. Pain from arthritis, sports injuries, sprains and strains, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are common problems affecting these areas. Because these joints are closely linked and work together when walking, running and cycling etc, pain in one area often leads to pain in another.
Lower Back Pains?
If your lower back has been hurting, and you don’t remember doing anything to injure it, the source of your pain could be your feet. Foot pain is something that many people try to ignore. After all, doesn’t everyone’s feet hurt now and then? But if foot pain is something that has been with you for quite a while, it could be causing problems in your ankles, knees, hips and even your back. Our body is like a chain, with one link or bone, connecting at the joint to another link. Think about what would happen if the first link in the chain was out of position. The point at which it meets the next link, would eventually overstress that link, and adversely affect the entire chain.
That’s what happens when we have foot pain. If the normal way of walking is painful, we instinctively change our walking pattern. Say you have arthritis, and your big toe joint hurts, don’t you change your gait to avoid bending the joint when you walk? Changing your gait changes the mechanics of your ankle joint, eventually causing ankle pain. This change in your walking pattern can also affect the whole chain of your lower body; from the ankle, to the knee, to the hip, and then to the lower back. When foot pain or a foot deformity causes you to change the way you walk, it changes the way the bones of all those other joints move with each other. Cartilage in the joints can wear down, ligaments and tendons can be stressed beyond their normal range, and arthritis can set in.
The Strength of Your Hips Affects Your Knees
Why should the strength of your hips affect your knees? It’s all about stability. Experts have long known that having a strong core (aka the trunk of your body), is essential to avoiding pain and injury; but until recently, core meant abs and back; the hip muscles weren’t included. That’s changed, thanks to a slew of recent studies confirming that the hips play a key role in balancing, aligning and supporting body parts from the low back on, down. Weak hip muscles are an often-overlooked cause not only of common sports-related injuries, such as runner’s knee, but also of low-back pain in non-athletes.
As with knee pain, back discomfort often isn’t a back problem at all. If one side of your pelvis is higher than the other, it can result in back pain, hip pain, groin pain, or even knee pain. But back to your back, the unevenness of your hips can pull on your lower back, causing that tightness while sitting all day.
Orthotics… The Way Forward
There is a buzzword in foot care… orthotics (insoles). The science of treating deformities and abnormalities in the musculoskeletal system is often via insoles. The great thing about them, is that no one can tell you’re wearing them. Experts also say that orthotics could be the answer to curing leg, knee and even lower back pain. But as I’ve said before, not just any insoles will do the job. Therefore, ensure you have a professional assessment of your condition.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!