Nutrition - Its' Impact on Postural Mechanics

   Rothbart BA, 2002. Medial Column Foot Systems: An Innovative Tool for Improving Posture. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (6)1:37-46

I have come to the conclusion, after many years of clinical and research experience and countless hours of discussion with my wife (who has been an advocate of holistic medicine and good nutrition for over 40 years) that postural biomechanics is impacted by nutrition.

In 2002, I published a paper in the Journal of Bodyworks and Therapies describing two previously unrecognized embryological foot types (Rothbarts Foot and PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity). Subsequent studies have linked this foot type to poor posture and the development of chronic musculoskeletal pain.

But what causes this embryological foot structure? Could it be linked to poor nutrition in the gravid mother, especially during the 1st trimester when the framework of the foot is established? Interesting enough, Price (1939) has suggested a similar link between poor nutrition and the narrowing (under development) of the dental arch.

  • Fast and highly processed food may have a greater impact on our lives than simply changing our eating habits!


Concurrently, I believe shoes are a contributing factor in the development of postural distortions. The foot was designed to walk without shoes. The toes are designed to grasp the sand or soft ground. This allows the intrinsic muscles of the foot to function and maintain their strength.

In shoes, especially with hard innersole surfaces, this cannot occur. The toes cannot function as they do barefooted, and hence the intrinsic muscles of the foot become weaker. This is compounded by the fact that many health care providers prescribe arch supports to help reduce the symptoms caused by a weak foot. Unfortunately, this only increases the problem. For example, for you put a cast around the knee, the muscles atrophy. Similarly, when you put an arch support underneath the foot, the intrinsic muscles of the foot atrophy (See Why Not Orthotics?).

With this triad of: genetics (Rothbarts Foot and the PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity), poor nutrition and shoes (with/without arch supports), postural distortions are becoming pandemic in our societies.

What can we do about this?

Ideally, improve the mother's nutrition during pregnancy and discard shoes.

Presently, I treat these children with Rothbart Proprioceptive Insoles (if they have either the Rothbarts Foot or the PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity), which strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot.

Reference

   Price WA, 1939. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.  Price and Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, OnLine Bookstore. http://www.ppnf.org