Foot pain is such a common problem that 75 percent of all Americans will experience it at some point. With 26 bones in each foot, it’s easy to understand why. Each foot also contains nerves that send messages to the brain telling it the precise location of the body. This process, called proprioception, is necessary for the brain to coordinate the feet and other parts to make the desired motion.
Additionally, the feet bare the impact of a person’s entire body weight striking pavement or flooring thousands of times every day. This can easily result in damage to the bones, nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that can cause significant pain. Ill-fitting shoes and disease, such as complications of diabetes, can produce foot problems as well.
While foot pain is not always preventable, the good news is that chiropractic care can make it short-lived. Treatment typically consists of chiropractic manipulation, orthotic shoes, exercise, or another non-surgical option to reduce foot pain.
A Chiropractic Approach to Common Foot Problems
Most people have either experienced or heard about plantar fasciitis. People with this ailment experience pain in the heel due to a strain in the ligaments that support the arch of the foot. The condition is named for the plantar fascia, a band of tissues that connects the toes to the heel bone. It also supports the arch of the foot. Ligament strains typically cause pain, swelling, and inflammation.
Traditional medical doctors often prescribe medication or give cortisone shots to patients complaining of plantar fascia pain. However, chiropractors take a natural approach to pain management. This might include adjusting posture, teaching patients to balance their weight equally between feet, and specific at-home exercises. Patients may find the fastest, most effective relief by working with both a doctor and a chiropractor. Some of the other foot ailments a chiropractor can help with include:
- Achilles tendinitis: This typically occurs after engaging in physical activity without stretching first. Chiropractors will have patients do specific stretching exercises to counteract the pain.
- Ankle sprains: Ankle sprains can be more serious than they appear at first because they affect the muscles, tendons, and bone. As the ankle heals, the talus bone may not return to its proper position. A chiropractor can adjust the talus bone to facilitate healing. He or she will also advise the patient to follow the standard RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
- Arthritis: Although chiropractors cannot cure arthritis, they can manipulate the toes, foot, and ankle to reduce joint swelling.
- Bunions: Poorly fitting shoes can cause the big toe to move too close to the other toes. Chiropractors can help to reduce the extreme pain and inflammation by manipulating and then mobilizing the joints.
- Flat feet: A person with flat feet has a noticeable lack of arch. When he or she stands up, the entire foot hits the floor or the inside of a shoe. This condition is typically present in childhood, although injury and normal aging can make it worse. Chiropractors manipulate and prescribe exercises that allow the arch to increase naturally.
Foot pain may be common but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. Those who are not finding relief though ordinary means may want to consider adding or switching to chiropractic care.