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Do you have Knee Pain?

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

“It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.”

-by Emiliano Zapato

Let's get right into it-- a foot problem can lead to an injured knee, an injured hip and a lower back issue, which can leave you feeling very uncomfortable. If you had knee surgery (unless it was from blunt force or sudden twist beyond the limit of the knee), most podiatrists will link the origin to your foot problems.

There are 72,000 nerve endings in your feet and 26 bones. You can see how easily it would be for one of these bones to malfunction in a human being without it coming to your awareness--of course until a much graver injury develops much later.

"Three in four Americans have a current foot problem they are not aware of."

The Foot and Knee Connection

Your knees and hips are the largest joints in your body and are responsible for supporting your weight as you stand and walk. This is especially critical knowledge for people who are obese or using compensatory mechanisms following injury to another join. If you are experiencing long term pain in your hips, knees, or even in your lower back, shoulders and neck, there may be a connection between the pain and the way your feet function (9).

According to medically reviewed article by Daniel Bubnis, adults over the age of 18 take anywhere from 4,000 to 18,000 steps per day (1). While children or those under 18 take anywhere from 10,000 to 16,000 steps per day (2). If you maintain that daily average and live for 80 more years that is around 116,800,000 steps throughout your lifetime walking at a conservative pace! (Sure! sure! Considering your average rate will significantly decrease as you age or are ill).

So, if you are not aware of a foot problem, then compensatory mechanisms will manifest as knee, hip and back pain! Let's do a little brushing up on these Kings and Queens of Balance.

Who is at risk?

✓ People who walk > 10,000 steps/day at work Ex. nurses, postmen, sales etc.

✓ Athletes who overtrain

✓ Obese people

✓ Everyone

Repetitive Common Foot Injuries: 3 Types


This is possibly a stress fracture from increased stress from repetitive motion the foot isn't used to. According to Diane Kelly's article 3 Foot Pains You Should Never Ignore, 'doing too much, too quickly and too often is frequently the culprit.' Think of a gung-ho runner who suddenly increases his mileage when training for a race. Overpronators and people with high arches too can feel this type of pain (3).

It can go by unnoticed for months as the pain gets worse. According to the best practice by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), if pain and other symptoms of inflammation—redness, swelling, heat—persist, limit normal daily activities and contact a doctor of podiatric medicine.


This may be Plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinopathy. Plantar fasciitis involves pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia that connects to your heel bone whereas, Achilles tendinopathy is a non-inflammatory heel pain that occurs at the Achilles tendon. It feels like stabbing pain at the heel.

A podiatrist can order an MRI to differentiate symptoms of a new condition of heel pain present two or three weeks ago from a chronic condition that has degenerated over the last three years. The more serious possibilities of heel pain include: Plantar fascia tear, Plantar fibroma, Bursitis, Trauma or loss of fat pad, Tarsal tunnel syndrome, low back sciatica, arthritic conditions such as Reiter's syndrome, gout etc, Myofascial conditions such as fibromyalgia, Tumors as well as Psychosomatic issues or chronic pain syndrome.


Arch pain—inflammation or a burning sensation in the area of the arch—causes discomfort with many possible causes.  This problem develops from having flat feet and wearing shoes with no arch support to do daily activities, overuse, obesity, wrong shoes, or an acute injury. Some Podiatrist say Plantar fasciitis-- a disorder of the connective tissue that supports the foot's arch is a common root cause.

It feels like the pain that shoots from the arch, often in the morning after a prolonged period of rest. If the strain on the arch continues (particularly after walking or standing for long periods of time) and is left untreated, a bony protrusion, also known as a heel spur could develop (5)

The best practice as always, is to treat the condition as soon as possible before it worsens.

Prevention & Treatment

Fortunately, arch pain is easy to address.  The simplest way to alleviate pain in the arch is to wear comfortable footwear with plenty of arch support–choose footwear with soft leather uppers and shock-absorbing soles, and add removable foot insoles (8).

Chinese Medicine Perspective

According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, the principle of reflexology foot massage professes that there are reflexes on the bottom of the foot that are directly related to organs, glands and other parts of the body. Experienced masseurs will find the reflexes that are active and use acupressure-like stimulation on these points, which in turn helps these organs, glands and body parts to work better.

Remember, there are 72,000 nerve endings in your feet. Foot reflexology starts with a warm soak to detox and draw poisons from the body through the sweat glands in the feet. It is followed by a relaxing massage and pressure points to relieve the body, mind and soul and treat specific organs. This is not a substitute for Western medical treatment but a wonderful compliment. Highly Recommended!


According to Dr. Josh Sandell, Chief Clinical Officer of Orthology and Sports Medicine specialist for the Minnesota Vikings--with more than 500 professional athletes from the NFL, CFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, WNBA, MMA, and PGA as patients--

When you run, your hips and muscles around your knees should be the body's primary shock absorbers, not your feet! YIKES!

the doc continues, "If those muscles are weak, your foot has the responsibility of absorbing two to three times your body weight every time it hits the ground."

Enough said.

Foot-Care Recommendation

  • Wear the appropriate shoes for each exercise activity--Heavy weight lifting shoes differ from dirt road hiking boots.

  • Warm up and do stretching exercises prior to and after running.

  • Pace yourself when you participate in new physical activities.

  • Obese? This puts you at great risk for foot, knee joint and back pain. Get to a healthy weight.

  • Foot pain? Meet a Podiatrist and a feedback diagnostic MRI or x-ray if any pain in your feet doesn't go away.

  • Do not self-diagnose!

  • Make sure to stretch your calf or soleus muscle, hamstrings, hip flexors, and groin muscles (adductors), as they are an integral part of the compensatory mechanism to relieve the stress tension accumulated at the end of each day in those muscle groups (3).

  • Take a yoga class!

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