If you can stand and/or walk on the sides of your feet, you can probably freak out or gross out a lot of your friends. While this is funny and entertaining while you are young, it can mean more serious problems for your ankles later on. Biologically speaking, people were meant to stand on the bottoms of their feet and not on the sides. Podiatrists recognize this type of physical "ability" as supination. Read on to see why you should avoid extreme supination.
Flat Feet and Loose Tendons
As your feet lose their natural arches, the ligaments and tendons that connect your feet to your ankles are gradually stretched. While stretching is ordinarily a good thing, in this case, the ligaments and tendons are stretched just beyond what they should be able to do, tearing a little bit each time. As these tiny tears heal, the ligaments and tendons become longer and looser, allowing you to rotate your feet outward and inward at hyper-extended angles.
Foot and Ankle Pain
Because your ankles no longer have the tightness and strength they need to keep your feet in their proper position, your ankles will roll. This means that the weight that should be distributed over your feet is now placed on your ankles and they will roll outwards, causing intense ankle and heel pain. You may even feel pain in the plantar fascia (the connective tissue that supports the arch of your foot), making every step you take feel like you are walking on hot coals. Stretching your ankles by rolling them in the opposite direction only temporarily alleviates the stress and pain you feel.
Avoiding Rolling Your Ankles
Since your ankles are already predisposed to rolling, the best thing you can do on your own is to wear good supportive shoes and avoid activities where you might stumble or your ankles--for instance, hiking in the mountains. You could eventually end up with a lot of arthritis in your ankles if you continue to roll your ankles and not support them. More importantly, you should see a podiatrist to help with this common ankle condition.
What Your Podiatrist Can Do for You
The doctor, like Advanced Foot & Ankle Center of Palatine, will examine your feet and ankles while you are standing and walking. He or she may recommend custom orthotics you can slip into your regular shoes to keep your ankles straight and effectively supported.