These are the shoes of an active, healthy 13 year old boy. He came to see me at Advance Physical Therapy due to left hip and back pain. His shoes told me that his posture was not centered because of unbalanced muscle use. He told me that his posture was unbalanced because he had pain. You can see in the photo that he tends to put more weight on the outside of his right foot than he does on the left. He also bears more weight through his left big toe than he does on the right. This combination puts him in a position where his weight is centered over his right leg. Over time, this leads to overuse of muscles on the right and underuse of muscles on the left causing asymmetry and pain.
Further, his heels had virtually no visible wear compared to his toes. This indicates a forward shift of his weight. In this position, he will have to overuse his back muscles to make sure he doesn’t fall over. (Try it!) The overuse of back muscles usually comes at a price to the abdominal muscles. With a posture of back arching, abdominal muscles become lengthened putting them at a poor biomechanical advantage. This leads to back pain and core weakness.
With some powerful Postural Restoration Institute exercises, awareness to posture and breathing patterns, this young man’s pain and sports performance improved. He also got a new pair of shoes out of the deal!
If you are having body aches and pains and you don’t know why, ask your shoes. They just might have some clues! Then call us!
Lisa Mangino, PT, DPT, PCS, CNDT is a pediatric physical therapy specialist with 15 years of experience in acute, outpatient, and home health settings. She can be reached at Advance Physical Therapy at (919) 932-7266.