Walking Correctly Part 7 of 10: Walking Incorrectly Affects Posture
One leg is shorter/longer than the other
Often when one leg is shorter than the other it is because that person leans on the shorter leg more than the other. They do this because in the past they have sprained or broken something on the opposite leg. So they will walk on the healthy leg to relieve pressure on the injured leg. After the injury heals if they do not equally walk on both legs they will continually lean on the “healthy leg”.
When you walk on one leg the foot has to point outwards more to support all the weight. This makes the outside of the leg tighter which will pull the hips backward and shift the pelvis to the injured leg side. This will affect the foundation of the spine and it will start to curve causing scoliosis. The spine will continue to curve all the way up the neck and cause cervical neck pain. So if you have a chronic neck pain on the right side of the neck then you are not flexing your left toe (which would be the short leg). When one leg is shorter than the other it best just to concentrate on this leg. Step Point 4 is best to lengthen a short leg. This requires hitting the big toe and lengthening your leg behind you. If you work on these issues without flexing the toe your symptoms of low back pain, hip pain, and scoliosis will continually need to be treated.
If your injury has never been massaged you may find that the area may still have some hardness around it, this is scar tissue. Massage techniques such as cross fiber friction, which is rubbing the opposite length of the muscle fibers, will help break up scar tissue bringing in circulation and cellular regeneration.
Toes pointed in & Toes pointed out Postural Affect
For a moment try standing with your toes pointed outward. You may notice that you begin to fall backwards. To keep from falling backwards one must slightly curve their spine and head forward to counter the balance. These people will often report neck and mid-back pain due to stress.
If one followed Part 2 and kept their toes pointed forward this posture would be prevented. When the toes are pointed forward for the whole leg stride this will tilt the chest back and your skull will go backwards and firmly rest on top of your cervical spine.
When you walk on the outside of your feet it is very easy to combine Step Point 3 & 4 together at the same time. Take special notice to separate these Step Points and feel the inside of your thigh burn…then it is working.
Posture of People who walk with their toes pointed inwards.
When people walk with their toes pointed inward they will start to fall forward. The front of their hips, thighs, and front of the calves will be tight from this incorrect walking technique. Since they are continually falling forward they may over arch their back which will tilt their hips forward causing low and mid back pain. Some Runners may fall into this category as the Running Technique is closely related to causing the same symptoms.
To help balance this posture one must focus more on the heel. Like in Part 1, lifting the foot more and make sure you really hit the heel and let your leg swing farther forward. It is also possible that Step Point 3 will be skipped as well. Make sure to hit all 4 Step Points separately and evenly.
Often inward toe walkers are stressed out and in a rush. I encourage these folks to slow down and take the time for yourself and get a massage.