Your foot is not a major body part that influences your riding unless it gives you pain from the way you have walked on it for years or had an injury. Walking is repetitive and with age, the number of times you have walked on your foot is greater. The mature rider is more likely to have foot pain.
If your walking pattern is correct and you have good alignment then the repetitive nature of your walking will only wear out with time. If the alignment of your weight-bearing pattern is “out” then your walking will affect your foot and indirectly your riding. The muscle imbalance that is created over time is the problem. This tends to affect older riders because we have walked many more miles with age. Older riders have different problems from younger riders and need a different approach to training their body.
A poor walking pattern can result in
- Lower Back pain
- Hip pain (Bursitis)
- Knee pain, ligament stress, and cartilage tears muscle imbalances
- Foot pain, Plantar Fascitis, Achilles Tendonitis
- Headaches (certainly needs a complete assessment)
So How Do You Know If Your Feet Are Affecting Your Riding?
When you ride do you have trouble keeping your heels down?
- Do you complain of back pain?
- Do you have trouble keeping your toes facing to the front?
- Do your hips ache?
- Do you have bursitis, tendonitis, pain?
- Do you complain about being stiff all the time?
- Do you have poor balance in the saddle?
Many other problems riders have can be traced back to poor foot weight-bearing posture. As a Physiotherapist and Rider Coach, I often see what others miss.
All of these symptoms will affect your symmetry in the saddle:
- You may well lean into one stirrup.
- You may find it difficult to keep your heels down.
- You may have very stiff ankles and have trouble keeping your lower leg still and stable.
- You might find it hard to keep your balance at the rising trot.
- You may not be able to sit upright at the canter.
So What Is The Connection Between Riding and Your Feet?
Well, it is quite simple we all walk on our feet one step at a time. This is a repetitive pattern and if your weight-bearing moment has little support from one of the major posture muscles in your feet then your foot will collapse as you weight-bear. This point of collapse will change the weight-bearing alignment and also muscle control at every joint from your ankle up. We are resilient until we are not!
Many micros make a macro and at some point, you will get pain, swelling, and inflammation in your foot, your knee, and or your hip.
This Will Affect Your Riding!
How To Fix, and Manage Foot Pain!
- treat the pain
- stretch the foot, and all other affected muscles
- wake up the foot arch muscle
- independently isolate the foot movement
- train correct biomechanics of the lower limb
- understand why and what you are doing
- I prescribe a compression sock for pain in the foot.
- taping or orthotics
- good footwear
- gel heel support
If you suffer foot pain and would like to learn how to treat and manage your problem then think about following my Applied Posture Riding Membership program. My program is more than just a few exercises I have a whole section on lower leg biomechanics just for this problem.