Foot pain

foot pain
Photo: wiki cc by Bruce Blaus

Did you know that there are 26 bones in each of your feet?  The body is designed like this so that your feet will be capable of a lot of movement.  From dorsiflexing and plantarflexing (see How Does Decreased Dorsiflexion Affect Your Squat), to supinating and pronating, each joint needs to be in proper working order so that the correct information gets transmitted from your feet to your brain and then back again.  The highest concentration of proprioceptors (sensors in your tissues that tell you where you are in space) is in your feet.  (Did you know the second highest concentration is in your neck?)  Anytime a joint in the foot becomes fixated, not only is it a source of foot pain, but it “turns off” the proprioceptors in that area.

Joints in the foot can become subluxated (or fixated) due to an ankle sprain, a fall off a bike, or repetitive motions such as driving and standing.  An old ankle sprain that was never properly rehabbed may actually be the reason that you suffer a new injury!  The peroneal muscles (along the side of the lower leg) get injured when the ankle rolls during the typical ankle sprain.  Those muscles attach to the bones in the mid-foot, and the ankle sprain will cause the muscles to pull the foot bone out of place.  If this never gets adjusted, the area has poor proprioception, and is more likely to get re-injured.

Another cause of foot pain is overworked or injured muscles in the lower leg.  If you think about the anatomy of the foot, you will note that many of the muscles of the foot, actually originate in the lower leg or calf.  For example, overworked calf muscles can cause achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, which is felt as foot pain.  This can be treated using Active Release Techniques in addition to chiropractic treatment to relieve the tightness in these muscles so that they don’t pull on the foot and cause further pain.

Oakland chiropractor Dr. Sandy Baird treats foot pain with Active Release Techniques
Oakland chiropractor treats foot pain

Depending on the cause, another painful foot condition called bunions may be able to be reduced by chiropractic care.  A bunion is a painful condition where the metatarsal bone that leads up to the big toe becomes positioned incorrectly, and overtime, bony changes occur, causing a “bump” to appear alongside the big toe.  If the bunions have been caused by wearing shoes with a narrow toebox, there may not be much you can do.  But if they have been formed by improper biomechanics of the foot or hip, a chiropractor can help restore proper biomechanics to the area so that the foot will, once again, function properly.  An adjustment to the joint between the first metatarsal and the cuneiform bone can help restore motion to the foot.

If you’re suffering from foot pain, we can do a foot, leg, and hip exam to discover which structures are causing your foot pain.  We can them prepare a personalized treatment plan to help you get out of pain.