The body is essentially a working bundle of organisms, bones, marrow and intricacies that are all interrelated in one way or another. One thing that isn't as widely explained or understood is how certain parts of the body inform and directly affect others. So when you experience a pain, sometimes the cause of that pain isn't necessarily on or near that part of the body. Sometimes it's caused by something a bit further away. This is what researchers were interested in finding out about in reference to foot pain or pain that exists in the lower extremities.
Some people assume that foot pain is a direct result of things like shoe wear, specific amounts of walking, being on the feet all day, or uneven distribution of weight that is often a result of bad posture. While these can all certainly be contributing factors to foot pain, there is another cause that isn't adequately given proper consideration.
The Kinetic Chain
Researchers at Harvard Medical School looked into this issue and found that there is actually quite a bit of correlation between foot pain and the health of the knees and hips. What the study found was that a patient who is complaining of foot pain should also be asked about any corresponding knee or hip pain. This should also be phrased in a way that includes the past six to 12 months as a barometer for either type of pain.
It's incredibly important for medical practitioners to conduct a complete and exhaustive physical examination and ask about pertinent medical history. There are so many connections that are made within the body that we don't even properly consider. Studying the interactions between the foot and the knee, as well as the foot and the hip, helps to bring necessary semblance to the kinetic chain which is something many people are largely unfamiliar with. The kinetic chain is the notion that the body's segments and joints affect one another implicitly in the way that movement occurs.
One researcher explained: The foot is the first part of the body that makes contact with the ground. Its primary function is a shock absorber. If the shock-absorbing capability of the foot is somehow altered or minimized, it's going to affect other body parts. The foot is also the foundation of the body. If the foundation is not sound, it could have a deleterious effect on the joints above the foot and ankle, namely the knee and the hip.
This study took data from previously gathered information in 2002 and 2008. With this type of framework, they were able to have a broad range of content as it would have been difficult organizing that amount of foot pain sufferers from scratch. Those filled out a questionnaire that contemplated different levels and degrees of foot pain along with severity experienced. There was also inquires requiring any type of stiffness, pain or aching of the hip or knee.
There was correlation between foot pain and same-side knee and hip pain. Those who experienced issues, pain or discomfort in their right foot, may have also experienced the same things in their right knee or right hip. There is much to be said for how a person that is experiencing this type of pain adjusts and modifies their movement in order to alleviate some of the pain. This causes misalignment and often exacerbates the problem.