Scoliosis usually means you have curvature of the spine that goes in a lateral direction. The curvature is usually in the thoracic and lumbar spine and can lead to chronic back pain, an obvious deformity of the spine, and an abnormal gait.
Scoliosis usually happens when a child is growing and is more common in the early adolescent years in girls who are undergoing a growth spurt. The body does not grow in a symmetric way and one side of the body grows out of proportion to the other side of the body so a curvature of the spine occurs. In some cases, scoliosis can only be detected by a careful examination, while in others, the problem is obvious to anyone who looks at the spine. X-rays are used to determine the degree of curvature and affect the treatment that is used.
Scoliosis and Your Gait
Because scoliosis alters the body mechanics, you can walk in an unnatural way. One leg is functionally longer than the other and you walk tilted because of the spinal curvature. This can result in calluses forming on one or the other foot and a gait that is trying to compensate for the spinal curvature.
You may wear out your shoes in a different pattern that makes one shoe wear out faster than the other. A podiatrist can often identify scoliosis by the wear pattern on the shoes or by just watching you walk in your shoes.
You may need to buy shoes more often if you have an abnormal gait because of scoliosis. New shoes need to be broken in very slowly so as to avoid rubbing on your feet and causing increased calluses where the new shoes are ill-fitting.
What a Podiatrist can do for Scoliosis and the Feet
The podiatrist can evaluate your gait and can look at the wear pattern of your shoes. They can look at your feet to see the various calluses that have occurred because you weren’t walking normally in your shoes or because walking barefoot has resulted in calluses on the bottom or sides of the feet due to your gait.
The podiatrist can trim any calluses that have developed because of your abnormal gait. While he or she can’t fix the scoliosis, they may be able to fit you with custom shoes or custom made orthotics that help correct your gait and reduce the chances of injury to your feet as a result of the scoliosis and your abnormal gait.
The orthotics may also help you walk better by evening up the length of the legs that has occurred because of the scoliosis. You will need to wear the shoes or orthotics at all times in order to keep the calluses from coming back.
What you can do for your Feet when you have Scoliosis
You should keep your feet clean and dry so you can prevent infection if the shoes wear into the skin causing a blister or sore. Wear the orthotics or special shoes that have been prescribed for you so you can walk better and can avoid having your shoes damage your feet. Try not to go barefoot as this can add to calluses and foot injury caused by walking abnormally due to scoliosis.