Chicken or Egg: Which came first, weak foot pains or weak glute pains?

How to tell if your pain is connected to weak feet or weak glutes

Back pain woman 1

Easter is around the corner, so I thought it best to discuss a common conundrum among walkers, runners, and all types of active populations which is about which came first: weak glutes or weak feet. Chances are, if you’ve clicked into this blog post, you’re curious about feet, glutes-or both. Maybe
you’ve been having pain and you’re not sure which problem to tackle first. Possibly you’re having another kind of problem like chronic back pain, knee pain, or hip pain, and you’re thinking your glutes and/or feet could be the source of your problem but can’t figure out, what came first?

The short answer is: neither.

Why this is the case

Foot muscles and glute muscles are both connected to a common nerve pathway of the lumbar (lower back) and sacrum (tailbone) nerve roots.

Muscles that are wired together fire together

So, we have an expression that says ‘muscles that are wired together fire together’, which means to say that lack of strength in one part of the pathway (feet muscles) results in automatic lack of strength in other parts of the pathway (glute muscles). Therefore, it would be unusual for someone to have active and strong glute muscles without also having active and strong foot muscles.

The solution: start with the core.

Core Exercise 1

Technically, the core consists of all muscles connected to the trunk, which admittedly does include the glute muscles. However, just because you have strong trunk muscles, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your muscles have any sense of direction. This “sense of direction” is called “motor control”
and is what gives us movement coordination, which then leads to strength if performed repeatedly with progressively increasing loads consistently over time.

By starting with a strong and coordinated core, you will have a strong and coordinated foundation to build your glutes and feet muscles from. No amount of glute or foot strength will be sufficient if you have an unstable and weak trunk. Likewise, no amount of core strengthening will effectively
compensate enough for a lack of motor control. Once you stabilize the trunk by strengthening with coordination/motor control, then your glutes and feet become available for effective use. Without the stability of the trunk first, glute strength and foot strength are rendered useless.

Dan treatment shot 1

The successful formula that I use with my patients is a very simple but effective process of first finding ways to move well. There is no use in doing exercises that don’t work, or causing pain when performing them, so we first have to find a starting point from which we can work. Moving well means moving without pain, moving correctly and moving in the most challenging way that you can do at the time. Often there is a block that is preventing any meaningful movement from happening, requiring an intervention, such as manipulation, to release the mechanical restriction and allow the body to function normally again.

Then the next step is to move more often and more efficiently, to build the capacity and resilience to the mechanical stress over time. This is something we all have to do as we age and become weaker and less resilient to the stress of life. The result is a winning patient who can move better, with less pain, and with more strength and coordination.

Let’s Find a Solution for Your Aches and Pains Together

If you’re concerned about your core strength or you’ are’re experiencing any issues which you would like addressed, I’m here to help. You can book an initial chiropractic consultation with using the online booking system below. Let’s get things assessed and get things sorted for the better, together!

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