Many people accept foot pain as a normal part of life without truly understanding what can be done to address and correct it. Often, they assume foot pain is common and something they just have to learn to live with
Our feet and ankles are extremely complex structures made up of joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, blood vessels, nerves, and skin. That being said, our feet and ankles can be prone to injuries and problems caused by our daily activities, as well as many other factors.
Many people have issues which can arise from a range of causes such as:
- Loss of one or more of the arches in our feet
- Improper or non-supportive footwear
- Athletic injuries
- Sprain / Strain of muscles, tendons, or ligaments
- Degenerative changes
- Other factors
Fortunately, many times these conditions can be solved by a combination of manual treatments, adjunctive therapies, rehabilitative exercises and in some cases customised orthotics or footwear.
- Pain at the bottom of the foot
Some of the most common conditions that affect the bottom of the foot include:
- Heel spurs
- Metatarsalgia (pain at the ball of the foot)
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome (pain or numbness at the bottom or arch of the foot)
- Plantar fasciitis.
- Pain at the sides of the foot
Foot pain can also manifest at locations on either the inside or outside of the foot, or at the ankle. Oftentimes, the pain symptoms can be the result of mechanical stress or poor mechanics of one or more of the 26 bones and 33 joints of the foot.
People who run or those who generally live an active lifestyle often complain of pain in the sides of the foot. Common conditions that are linked to pain in the side of the foot include bunions, flat feet, tendonitis, tailor’s bunion, and ankle sprains.
- Pain at the back of the foot
Achilles tendonitis is the most prevalent condition that affects the back of the foot. The condition occurs when you have repetitive stress and strain on your Achilles tendon. In most cases, a mechanical dysfunction or misalignment of the hind foot is observed when you suffer from this condition. Achilles tendonitis is also linked to repetitive movements of your foot and ankle over an extended time period, as well as tight or inflexible calf muscles.
- Pain at the top of the foot
While pain at the top of the foot is rare, it can be equally debilitating. If you have flat feet, you are more prone to experiencing pain at the top of your foot. Highly arched feet (cavus foot) can also cause stress and result in pain at the top of the foot.
Foot or ankle pain and dysfunction can force you to modify your standing posture and gait (how you walk). When this happens, it often leads to significant stress on the joints of the hips, legs, and even the lower spine over time.
Your feet and ankles act as the foundations for your entire body so when they suffer from malformation, dysfunction, and misalignments, it can set your body up for further issues. Even without pain, foot or ankle dysfunctions can cause your whole body to overcompensate in other ways. Therefore it is a good idea to have the structure and mechanics of your feet and ankles checked even if your pain and symptoms may be located elsewhere.
Our doctors of chiropractic can help you effectively overcome foot and ankle problems which may also cause problems in other parts of your body like your hips, legs, and lower back. Our doctors will conduct of number of diagnostic tests (this can include examining your foot function and gait) and assess your history to accurately assess the nature of your foot problem.
Palpation of the feet and ankles may also be done to check for any range of motion limitations, determine the cause of the pain, and identify the best course of treatment for the condition.
- Manual mobilisation to the joints of the foot and ankle
- Muscle trigger point and myofascial release
- Radial shockwave therapy (RSWT)
- Low level laser therapy (LLLT)
- Stabilisation exercises
- Corrective orthotics (shoe inserts)
Let our friendly and professional doctors of chiropractic assess your condition fully to determine the best treatment(s) for your foot or ankle pain. In addition, nutritional and lifestyle counselling may be done to help minimise psychological and biological stresses on your body, improving not just your foot, but your overall health and well-being.
Author: Dr. Michael Bryant