We’re often told that if our spine has an excessive curve in it or a segment is “out” that something is wrong. That if our feet are flat, it means we will get foot pain. Sound familiar?
Yes, the extremes of these cases such as severe structural scoliosis, or a bone deformity causing structurally abnormal bones of the foot would likely lead to pain. That being said, there are so many other factors that can cause pain that often get overlooked. There are also numerous examples of amazing people with odd-looking spines, flat-as-a-tack feet and missing limbs that have done astonishing things that I'll get to shortly.
Having a completely “straight” spine is just not a thing. The natural curvatures in our spine are there for a reason, and they can change over time as a result of numerous things. One of them being pregnancy. Most of the time our natural lumbar curve increases as the baby grows and our center of gravity shifts more to the front, so our spine accounts for this and changes. Guess what happens once bub is delivered? The spine generally returns to pre-pregnancy shape!
Why do we use the metric of symmetry to determine if we will develop pain? Or be good at a particular sport?
We don’t use this same metric with other parts of our body, such as:
Eyes – just because one is higher than the other doesn’t mean our eye sight is worse.
Ears – just because one might be smaller than the other doesn’t make our hearing any worse.
Amputees – Losing some parts of their body doesn’t make them any less able to carry on with their daily routine. They don’t let it stop them from achieving amazing things like Kurt Fearnley and his Kokoda Track Crawl...
Have you ever seen Usain Bolt’s feet!? Do me a favor and Google that. Bolt also has a scoliosis of 45 degrees, and that still didn't stop him...
There are so many examples of asymmetry and “poor posture” amongst individuals achieving sporting greatness. It is a true testament to the adaptability of our body.
So, unless it is causing you pain or dysfunction, don’t let anyone tell you that you need to correct your ‘flat feet’ or ‘uneven posture’ or that your spine is ‘out’. If you are experiencing pain chat to your local Osteo, we will determine where your pain is actually coming from, and work with the body to target areas that may need some tuning up and strengthening.
By Dr Marc (Osteo).