Is Walking Dangerous?

Walking has been described as one of the best forms of exercise.  It’s cheap & easy to do, you don’t need special equipment or training, just a good pair of shoes… right?  Wrong.

There are hidden dangers in walking.  When our feet are aligned properly there’s no problem; however, when the feet aren’t aligned properly, excessive motions will occur.  This excessive motion multiplied 15000 times a day over, say 15 to 20 years, results in a multitude of neuromusculoskeletal deformities.  That’s why by the time we reach middle age all of a sudden we develop problems to our feet, knees, hips back and more. Just like a rubber ban you can stretch it hundred of times without a problem, but eventually it will lose it’s elasticity and snap.

Pronation is a normal motion of the foot and excessive pronation it termed hyperpronation. Hyperpronation occurs due to obliteration of the sinus tarsi.  The sinus tarsi, a naturally occurring space, is formed by a space under the ankle bone (talus) and a space on the upper portion of the heel bone (calcaneus).  The space should always stay open.  A deformity exists when there is partial to full obliteration of this space.  The cause of the abnormal closure of this space is really not known but is most likely caused by underdevelopment of the talus.  This is usually an inherited problem from a parent to the child, and so on.  The underdeveloped talus then moves excessively on the calcaneus.

When the sinus tarsi is obliterated, the excessive motion is transferred to other parts of the foot.  These excessive forces will then lead to damage to the soft tissues of the foot and ankle, resulting in abnormal bone deviations. Abnormal bone deviation leads to excessive joint motion,  Excessive joint motion leads to more pulling and stretching of the soft tissue attachments to the bone, producing the formation of bone spurs.  It also leads to inflammation of the joint.  Chronic inflammation of the joint results in degeneration of the cartilage, which results in arthritis.  The list goes on and on as to how this affects the entire body and your ability to walk and lead a normal life.

In order to treat and prevent damage, it’s imperative to see a podiatrist on a regular yearly basis for a quick check up, and an investment in custom orthotics is encouraged in cases where misalignment of the foot is noticed.  However, in cases where damage is already done or is severe, a new treatment exists: Hyprocure.  This stent procedure is placed in the space of the sinus tarsi to keep it open, preventing abnormal motion and restoring normal motion to the talus and calcaneus. These stents can be placed in children as young as 3, and have been successfully placed in patients well into their 90’s. The stent procedure takes roughly about 5 minutes, and patients are back into semi-normal shoes within three to four days after the surgery.

So, walking may be the best form of exercise out there for the average person, but an assessment of individual health should always be made to prevent hidden dangers from damaging your feet and ankles.  For more information on Hyprocure, contact Troy podiatrist Dr. Weinert for an assessment.  You can also request a FREE copy of his book, Stop Feet Pain Fast, that describes other potentially painful issues with your foot and ankle and how to prevent and correct them.