Doctor Andrew Weil once said, “Our feet are our body’s connection to the earth.”
Painful, achy feet make it hard to do just about anything. Therefore, we must keep our feet healthy, strong, and pain-free. But when foot injuries do occur, it’s important that we take the proper steps to quickly and efficiently address this issue.
Many people mistakenly assume that chiropractic care can only help with back and neck pain. In reality, chiropractors are experts at treating issues throughout the body. In this article, we’ll take a look at how chiropractic care can help with foot pain.
Foot Anatomy and Function
The feet are composed of 28 bones, a complicated system of ligaments, and many tiny, intricate muscles. All of these structures work together to enable us to walk, jump, run, and complete any other task requiring the use of our feet.
Due to the complex structure of the feet, and the even more complex nature of how the feet function, some practitioners specialize in the treatment of foot-related conditions.
Common Foot Pain Causes
If you wanted to get technical, you could probably identify hundreds of potential foot pain causes. After all, our medical knowledge and technology improve by the day, which allows us to more accurately diagnose conditions. However, for the sake of ease, let’s separate foot pain causes into two broad categories:
- Pain and dysfunction due to a problem with the foot itself.
- Pain and dysfunction due to a problem elsewhere in the body.
Problems stemming from the foot itself encompass conditions such as:
- Plantar fasciitis,
- A broken bone in the foot;
- A ligament or muscle injury in the foot;
- An irritated nerve in the foot;
- Many other causes.
On the other hand, issues that cause foot pain, but aren’t necessarily the result of an issue with the foot itself are known as radiculopathies and/or referred pain.
Radiculopathies are strange phenomena. In these instances, patients will feel pain radiating along the length of a nerve, such as in cases of sciatica.
When it comes to referred pain, essentially, the patient will feel pain in one area (such as the foot), when the problem truly lies in another area (such as in an internal organ or the spine). There is a body of research dealing with referral patterns that demonstrates this interesting medical occurrence.
How Chiropractic Care Helps With Foot Pain
The most important first step in addressing any type of injury is to accurately diagnose the condition. Your chiropractor will begin your evaluation by obtaining a detailed medical history.
From there, she will determine which tests and measures are most appropriate to further narrow down the list of possible foot pain causes. This will include a physical examination where the chiropractor inspects your foot visually and with her hands. Additionally, the chiropractor may decide that imaging, such as x-rays, will be necessary to get the best picture of what is causing your foot pain.
Next, she will interpret the results from your evaluation and develop a treatment plan.
Your treatment plan will involve various modalities (treatment methods). Each of these modalities will be geared toward reducing your current pain and creating a strong foundation so that you don’t experience the same foot issues in the future.
For example, your chiropractor may use any or all of the following methods to address your foot pain:
- Joint manipulation;
- Electrical stimulation;
- Orthotic prescription;
- Dietary counseling;
- Exercise therapy.