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The Way You Walk Says a Lot

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A person’s car or clothes may say a lot about them, but experts say the way one walks speaks volumes too.

When a patient visits a Canadian Certified Pedorthist for an initial consultation one of the first things the Pedorthist does is a gait assessment. This careful evaluation of how the patient walks is important because gait is one of the main contributing factors to foot and lower limb issues.

One aspect of a gait assessment is seeing if the foot rolls during walking. Overpronation occurs when a person’s foot rolls excessively inward, causing the arch to elongate and collapse and the heels to lean toward each other. Oversupination or underpronation occurs when a person has feet that roll outward too much, often accompanied by a high arch, inflexible feet and poor shock absorption when they walk. Both of these conditions can lead to a number of painful problems including heel pain or plantar fasciitis, lower back pain, shin splints, stress fractures in the foot or lower leg and many other injuries.

Although overpronation and oversupination don’t always result in immediate medical problems, people who have flat feet or high arches should book a consultation with a Canadian Certified Pedorthist if they experience lower limb pain. The Pedorthist will advise them on appropriate shoes and whether an orthotic, or modified footwear are required. It is particularly important that people who overpronate or oversupinate visit a pedorthist if injured since their poor foot mechanics will make their recovery more difficult.

Submitted by: Elisa Harrison, C. Ped Tech (C), C. Ped (C), Guelph, ON

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