I see a lot of patients in my office complaining of foot and ankle pain. The most common types of foot problems that I encounter are plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, Morton’s Neuroma, and Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Most ankle problems are usually the result of an ankle sprain at some point in time or Achilles tendonitis. One thing that all of these conditions have in common is there is some sort of structural problem with the foot that is causing them.
The foot is a very complex structure. It is made up of 28 bones and 25 joints. They are configured to accommodate the stability and mobility responsibilities of the foot and ankle on various surfaces during various degrees of weight bearing. Ultimately, all of these structures configure to form the arch of the foot. The arch is integral to the foot’s function of mobility and stability. In terms of mobility, the arch acts as a shock absorber and allows the foot to adapt to changes in terrain. In terms of stability, the arch allows for weight distribution through the foot during weight bearing and converts the foot to a rigid lever when pushing off during gait. When the structure of the foot breaks down, the foot does not function as it was intended and pain is usually the end result.
As chiropractors, we look at restoring the normal structural functioning of the foot. This is accomplished through a number of ways, but mostly through chiropractic adjustments and therapies. Chiropractic adjustments restore normal movement and alignment to the joints of the foot and ankle. This decreases stress on the soft tissues and helps to improve the functioning of the arch of the foot. Therapies help to decrease pain and inflammation in the foot.
Finding the proper footwear is also important. Different types of foot problems require different types of support. For example, a flat foot needs a different type of shoe than a foot with a high arch. Also, orthotic arch supports may also be needed to properly support the foot. These are things that a chiropractor can advise you about.