The human body is one of the most interconnected items in the universe. Everything supports everything else. Whether it is stomach health supporting brain activity, brain activity supporting intestinal help, or increased muscle strength helping maintain bone health, each individual limb, organ, and nerve is part of a complex network that supports one another. Therefore, a problem in one can lead to problems in another.
One prime example of this is in regards to the feet and the back. For adults, providing arch support for your feet helps maintain back health, particularly as you age.
This is largely a result of a process called “pronation.” Pronation is the term referring to the natural movement of a foot while walking or running when the foot lands on the ground. It is the first part of the stance phase, with its opposite, supination, occurring when the heel is lifted off the ground and begins propulsion. Normal pronation disperses the shock from the ground with each step, in turn protecting the muscles and bones of the legs and lower back.
For some, pronation can be more pronounced towards the interior of the body, resulting in what is commonly referred to as flat feet. On top of this, a more pronounced pronation can occur in pregnant women and overweight individuals.
The immediate effect of pronation is that each step often causes the knee and hip out of alignment. When too much pressure is put on these joints, the pressure from the shock of each step puts added stress on every bone in the leg all of the way to the lower back.
For this reason, many doctors suggest finding shoes with good support that can help deal with the excess shock that the foot is not able to handle. The “support” they are talking about here deals primarily with arch support, the area of the foot most responsible for the action of pronation.
To help you in picking out shoes with better support for your arches, one should look out for shoes that are designated as “motion control.” Motion control shoes are specifically designed to provide support to those areas of the foot specifically involved in pronation, helping to stop over pronation. Some people may also want to find a shoe with more interior cushioning that prevents severe over-pronation. These shoes will help absorb that shock, preventing injury from the bones in your legs and lower back.