Getting to the Root of the Problem for Better Whole-Body Health
Have you ever experienced pain somewhere in your body not from an accident or a hard work out, but over time a little ache here, a bigger pain there. It’s nothing big enough to “worry” about or to make any changes in your lifestyle or exercise program, and then… one day, suddenly it seems you’re incapacitated and unable to keep up the facade that nothing is wrong.
It’s time to face the fact that there really is something going on that you need to pay attention to, find a solution for and take action to change so you can get your good health back.
I received this question from Wendy about toes and leg pain and thought there might be other folks out there who would be interested in my response.
A Question About Toes and Leg Pain:
“I’m researching, yet not finding much info on how your toes have an impact on your thighs. Do they?? Because I’ve had leg pain (not foot pain) but just recently noticed my toes are unable to crack when I bend them and I feel like I need to crack them. My thigh pain has been very debilitating. And I know it’s an odd question, but I’m starting to see a connection between my thighs and my toes. So could you please tell me if my toes could be causing such stress to my middle half? Thank you so much.” Wendy.
Aliesa’s Insights & Answer:
Hi Wendy, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling with leg pain. There most definitely can be a connection between what’s happening at your feet with your toes and how it affects your legs.
Toes and leg pain, back and leg pain, hip and shoulder pain, neck and ankle pain, knee and foot pain… With pain anywhere in our body it can be a chicken or egg dilemma –problems could have started at your feet and the resulting pain (at the moment) is farther up the leg. Or there may be posture, core support and hip mechanic’s issues that are affecting the legs and working down to the feet. You are correct in noticing that there is a connection between your feet and your thighs.
I’m going to make a broad, general statement on this subject of addressing body parts that hurt: In my experience as a Pilates expert, foot fitness and functional movement specialist there is never just ONE thing that needs to be addressed when something in our body hurts. Multiple factors contribute to our problems, and there will be multiple factors that need to be addressed for a long-lasting solution.
As an example: If your knee hurts and you only do knee exercises, you’re missing out on the important component of how moving your knee relates to your foot and your hip. The best way to insure whole-body health is to be sure that you’re doing whole-body exercises that don’t just work your parts and pieces individually, but also integrate to develop the relationships between the parts that are required for healthy movement. (This is one of the BIG reasons I’m a fan of Pilates, and incorporating Pilates-principles into all your fitness and daily life movements.)
Posture and alignment changes at your feet and toes can dramatically affect the rest of your body. How you sit, stand and walk can change based on how well the muscles and bones in your feet are working to support you. If things are a little “off;” if you’ve ever experienced a foot, ankle or leg injury; if you know you have a strong dominant side and weaker side; the types of shoes you wear (flip-flops and strapless/backless shoes are only hurting your health) …all of these can affect the health of your toes, feet and whole-body over time.
If you remember that song we sang as kids, Dem Bones… “The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone, the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone, the leg bone’s connected to the knee bone, the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the…. And it goes on to connect the bones all the way to the top of our head!
Yes, everything is connected!
Muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments and fascia all play an important role in holding us together.
Back to your question… It’s not important that you can “crack” your toes. But what is important is that the mechanics of how you sit, stand and move is looked at closely to see where the muscle imbalances are that need to be “tweaked” for your body to be in better alignment, to find and recruit the right muscles for healthy movement, and to help reduce or eliminate the stress that is being placed on the parts of your body that are currently experiencing pain.
I suspect there are parts of your body both below and above the pain that are affected (and/or are a contributing factor) to why your body hurts. If your thigh hurts and you choose to ignore the pain hoping it will go away, maybe it will, but there’s a better chance that it’s only going to get worse and in time will affect both your knees and back. And if all you do is focus on exercises to stretch or strengthen the “thigh” this still probably won’t address the real issues that need to be taken care of to get to the root of the problem.
The best starting point is to see your doctor to rule out any medical issues that might be contributing to your pain, and get clearance/approval to safely start an exercise program. If your doctor determines that it’s not a medical issue, but a functional one, getting started with a good coach or mentor and the right training program and exercises to improve your posture and develop better healthy movement habits can be the next step in retraining your body to develop the right healthy movement habits to reduce pain and improving your whole-body health from your toes, to your thighs, to the top of your head.
To keep ALL the parts and pieces of our body working, (and working well together) we’ve got to develop better body awareness, get the right support in the right places, have a good balance of both strength and flexibility, and understand the finer points of form and function for Healthy Movement Habits.
Interested In Improving Your Healthy Movement Habits?
I am offering some exciting new online training programs to mentor clients virtually who can’t make it into the studio to work with me one-on-one, but are serious about making some improvements in their Healthy Movement Habits to transform and align their mind and body for better health.
A limited number of spots are available in my next online program. If you are interested in more information about this opportunity to work with me via the web, please apply for a complimentary Healthy Movement Habits Discovery Session. This will give us a few minutes to discuss and discover what your biggest challenges are for a healthy, active, pain-free life, and what you can do to get started and take control of your mind, body and movement habits to achieve wellness success. A limited number of appointments are available to speak with me, and I request that only serious applicants apply. If you are ready to dramatically improve your health & fitness apply now for your complimentary Discovery Session and we can explore what the best next step is for you to improve your whole-body health. Click here now to apply by filling out a brief Health Assessment survey.