All Posts tagged feet

Chiropractic Treatment of Foot and Ankle Problems

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. 


Selecting the Best Athletic Shoe for You

Too many people choose fashion over function when purchasing athletic shoes, not realizing that poor fitting shoes can lead to pain throughout the body.  Unfortunately, there is no such thing as the very best athletic-shoe-every pair of feet is different, every shoe has a different feature, and the overall comfort is a very personal decision.  For this reason, it is recommended that you first determine your foot type: normal, flat, or high -arched.  When determining your foot type, consult your doctor of chiropractic – they can help you determine your foot type.  If you don’t have a chiropractor, you can make a good guess by looking at your wet footprint.

Normal foot:  Normal feet have a normal-sized arch and will leave a wet footprint that has a flare, but shows the forefoot and heel connected by a broad band.  A normal foot lands on the outside of the heel and rolls slightly inward to absorb shock.  If you have a normal foot the best shoes for you are:  Stability shoes with a slightly curved shape.

The Flat Foot:  This type of foot had a low arch and leaves a print that looks like the whole sole of the foot.  It usually indicates an overpronated foot-one that strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls excessively inward. Over time, this can cause overuse injuries.  The best shoes for flat feet are:  Motion control shoes or high stability shoes with firm midsoles.  These shoes should be fairly resistant to twisting or bending.  Stay away from highly cushioned, highly curved shoes, which lack stability features.

The High-Arched Foot: The high-arched foot leaves a print showing a very narrow band-or no band at all-between the forefoot and the heel.  A curved, highly arched foot is generally supinated or underpronated. Because the foot doesn’t pronate enough, usually it’s not an effective shock absorber.  The best shoe for a high arched:  Cushioned shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion.  Stay away from motion-control or stability shoes, which reduce mobility.

Shoe Purchasing Tips:

  1. Match the shoe to the activity.
  2. Shop at a specialty store.
  3. Shop late in the day (when your feet are at the largest).
  4. Have your feet measured every time.
  5. Make sure the shoe fits correctly.
  6. Shoes should be replaced after approximately 300 to 500 miles.