out of 4 Americans experience serious foot
problems in their lifetime.
foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments
and 19 muscles.
of all the bones in the human body are down in
your feet. When these bones are out of alignment,
so is the rest of the body.
a small percentage of the population is born with
neglect and a lack of awareness of proper care -
including ill-fitting shoes - that brings on
have about four times as many foot problems as
men. High heels are partly to blame.
is the best exercise for your feet. It also
contributes to your general health by improving
circulation, contributing to weight control, and
promoting all-around well-being.
feet mirror your general health. Conditions such
as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory
disorders can show their initial symptoms in the
feet - so foot ailments can be your first sign of
more serious medical problems.
are 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet. Sweat
glands in the feet excrete as much as a half-pint
of moisture a day.
two feet may be different sizes. Buy shoes for the
are currently more websites on the Internet having
to do with foot fetishes than with foot health.
The average person takes between 8,000
and 10,000 steps per day, which adds up to about 115,000
miles over a lifetime. That's enough to go around the
circumference of the earth four times. In addition many of us are engage in activities such as
running and aerobic exercise that add many more steps and
stress to our poor over worked feet. It is no wonder that
many people have aches and pain in this part of the body.
Factors such as flat feet or over-pronated feet, our walking
and running style, the type of shoe wear can determine if we
will get foot and ankle pain. However these factors can also
affect the health of your back, knees and legs. Below are a
few of the common conditions that affect the feet and ankle.
Pes Planus ( Flat Feet )
Flat feet or Pes planus as it
is called by the medical community is very common and it is
estimated that at least one quarter of the population has
flat feet. We are all born with flat feet and somewhere
between the ages 3-10 we develop and arch. However in
certain people this development never occurs. Besides
genetic causes, there are a number of factors that can cause
flat feet or predispose people to the condition. Sometimes
people develop arches only to have them collapse later in
their life. This often depends upon their lifestyle, job and
level of activity. Age and weight also play a role in the
condition's development. Middle-aged people who have been
working on their feet for years often experience flat feet,
as do overweight people who are placing added stress on
their feet and legs.
normal adult foot
Having flat feet does not necessarily
mean you will have pain as it's possible for people to have
the condition and never feel any discomfort. For people who
do develop pain, it usually occurs in the feet and knees,
and possibly in the hips and lower back. If you suspect you
have flat feet and do experience pain you should see your
chiropractor especially to determine a plan of management
that can ease pain or prevent symptoms from developing. A
number of options, including prescribing arch-supporting
insoles called orthotics and performing joint adjustments
can improve foot function and alleviate any symptoms.
Plantar Fasciitis ( Heel Pain )
One of the most common of the foot ailments is heel pain and
the cause is usually inflammation of the plantar fascia or plantar
fasciitis. The plantar fascia, is a band of
connective tissue that surrounds the muscles on the bottom
of the foot . It connects the heel bone to the ball of the
foot, supporting the arch, protecting the foot and absorbing
Patients with plantar fasciitis often
complain of pain in the morning after first standing when
they get out of bed and when the stand after they sat for a
while. The pain originates just in front of the heel bone,
but can spread over the entire bottom of the foot. Over
time, inflammation associated with the condition can lead to
the development of scar tissue, calcium deposits and
eventually heel spurs. These
spurs are a bony growth on the front part of the calcaneus
of heel bone where the plantar fascia attaches and can sharp
stabbing pain with walking.
There are many factors that contribute to
the development of plantar fasciitis though people who have
other foot conditions, especially pes planus (flat feet) and
over-pronation are most susceptible. One of the most
important factor is muscle imbalances between the calf
muscles and the muscles on the bottom of the foot which both
attach to the calcaneus or heel bone. Often the calf muscles
get short and tight exerting a strong pull upon the back of
the calcaneus. This causes undo stress upon the smaller and
weaker plantar muscles and its fascia that attach to the
other side of the calcaneus. Wearing high heels will cause a
shorting and tightening of the calf muscles as well as
running and jumping activities. Other factors that stress
the plantar fascia include: sudden strenuous activity after
a period of long-term inactivity, abnormal walking patterns,
improper footwear, walking on hard or uneven surfaces
especially barefooted, and obesity.
People who are constantly on their feet,
such as nurses, teachers and waiters, are more susceptible,
as are athletes who participate in foot-stressing activities
such as aerobics, volleyball, running, basketball and
Once one develops plantar fasciitis, it
is often difficult to manage and can become very painful and
persistent. A chiropractor will be able to determine the
cause of your problem and what treatments are best suited.
These might include ultrasound therapy, joint manipulation,
muscles stretching and strengthening exercises, special
strapping and in some cases orthotics.
Hallux Valgus -
Hallux valgus is a condition when the big toe or hallux
deviates towards the outside of the foot often almost
overlapping or bumping in to the adjacent toe. It is a slow
developing condition that usually develops a bump on the
inside of the big toe often called a bunion.
The pain associated with Hallux Valgus is
usually felt during weight bearing activities such as
walking or prolonged standing. However if someone has
developed a bunion the pain can be present at rest and if
often described as a "numbing" or
"burning" sensation in the big toes.
To be exact, the actual problem is not in
the bone itself but in the joint between the big toe and the
1st metatarsal bone, the 1st metatarsal-phalangeal. It is
the damage to this joint that causes the pain and deformity
associated with Hallux Valgus. The condition is usually the
result of wear and tear over a long period of time from
factors such as over-pronation which causes abnormal
pressure on the big toe and first metatarsal during walking.
Other causes of hallux valgus include inflammatory arthritis
that can damage the joint and cause degenerative changes. A
broken toe that does not heal properly can also predispose a
person to hallux. However one of the more common causes of
the problem is the high heeled and pointed shoes that women
often wear. These shoes not only put extra stress upon the
joint but also help to push the big toe to the outside. It
is know wonder that women have the condition much more often
If you have hallux valgus, your
chiropractor can examine your foot to determine which
factors contributed to your condition. He or she can then
use a number of techniques and modalities to decrease pain
and improve your foot's function.
( Pain in the ball of the foot )
Metatarsalgia is sometimes called ball-of-foot pain, a pain
in the area on the sole of the foot just behind the toes
where the foot bends during walking. The pain is actually
caused by a problem in one or more of the five metatarsal
bones that extend from about half way up the foot to the
While many patients with metatarsalgia
feel pain where their metatarsal bones join their toe bones,
some also feel pain along the entire length of the
metatarsals and possibly between them. Problems in this area
can vary from a stiff and stiff feeling when you move these
bones to a burning or stinging sensation. This depends upon
whether the problem is due to a dysfunction in the joints or
an irritation to the nerves as they travel along the
The cause of the condition can vary but
the cause is due to either structural or functional reasons.
An example of a structural causes is when the metacarpal
bones are either too long or too short causing abnormal
mechanics in the feet and too much stress upon this area.
Flat feet or excessive arch can also alter the stresses on
the metatarsals causing similar symptoms.
There are other factors that can affect
these bones that are often in the control of the individual.
These include excess body weight, tight or high-heeled
shoes, and excessive or poor running or athletic training.
Excess weight and wearing high-heeled shoes increases stress
upon the metatarsal which leads to joint pain and nerve
irritation. Repetitive foot activities, like running,
directly stress the metatarsals by exposing them to constant
Regardless of the cause, your
chiropractor can effectively care for metatarsalgia. After
determining what factors are underlying your condition, he
or she can offer a variety of non-invasive therapies
including orthotics as well as advice on how you can avoid
Achilles tendonitis is a painful and often debilitating
inflammation of the Achilles tendon, also called the heel
cord. This large tendon is an extension of the two biggest
calf muscles and runs down the back of the lower leg
attaching to the heel bone or calcaneus. Injury to this
important tendon can make it difficult or even impossible to
walk. The problem may be caused by a sudden single incident
such as jumping, but more commonly it results from an
accumulation of smaller stresses that produce small tears in
the tendon over time. In most cases, the appearance of
symptoms is gradual. The discomfort may be relatively minor
at first, but gradually worsens if the patient tries to
"work through" the pain. Many Achilles tendonitis
sufferers attribute their initial discomfort to the aches
and pains that accompany age or fatigue. In severe cases, a
total rupture of the tendon can occur, resulting in
traumatic damage and severe pain. Such injuries can make
walking virtually impossible and may even require corrective
Achilles tendonitis is often associated
with athletes and performers such as dancers who are
involved in running and jumping activities especially
involving sudden starts and stops. However, women who
typically wear high-heeled shoes are also at risk especially
if they switch to sport shoes for exercise. In these cases,
the Achilles tendon and muscles gradually adapt to a
shortened position created by wearing high-heels, as the
heel does not have to stretch all the way to the ground.
When this occurs, the switch to exercise or flat shoes
forces the Achilles tendon to stretch further than it is
accustomed to causing stress and inflammation. For these
reasons, high heels should not be worn everyday. If they are
deemed necessary, stretching should be done every morning
and night to keep Achilles tendon lengthened.
Achilles tendonitis often appears in middle-aged people,
especially men who are athletes, due to the changes that
occur in the foot as we age. Our arch tends to flatten as we
grow older causing over-pronation and increased stress upon
the Achilles tendon and the calf and foot muscles.
Similarly, problems are also is common in the "weekend
warrior" who exercises infrequently, and those who are
just starting to exercise. In such people, the muscle and
tendon have little flexibility due to inactivity and
overdoing exercise in the beginning can cause tendonitis.
Therefore, people who are just starting to exercise after a
long layoff should stretch properly, start slowly, and
Regardless of the cause of the problem if
one is experiencing the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis they
should consult a qualified professional such as a
chiropractor to manage the problem before it becomes severe.
About Chiropractic |
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