“As you get older, when things aren’t functioning properly, your body compensates,” says Lipman. Specifically, when certain foot muscles experience some wear and tear, you might feel the aftershock crawling up your calves or hips. In fact, one 2017 study found a significant association between foot pain and knee or hip pain. “The foot is the first part of the body that makes contact with the ground,” podiatrist Rock G. Positano, DPM, MPH, one of the lead researchers of the study, said in a news release. “Its primary function is a shock absorber. If the shock-absorbing capability of the foot is somehow altered or minimized, it’s going to affect other body parts.”
It’s a similar scenario to reversing bad posture: If you find yourself slouching all day long, many experts would advise you to fire up your glutes with a couple of strengthening exercises. Your feet can affect your posture as well, turns out, with research showing that hyperpronation (aka, when your arches collapse and your ankles roll in) can affect spine alignment.
The bottom line? Your feet play a bigger role than you might have realized. It’s time to give them the love they deserve.