Did you know...
60% of people have one foot that is larger than the other? Unfortunately, shoe companies don't take this into consideration when manufacturing shoes. If you are one of the 60%, you likely feel its effects. Your feet suffer and so does the rest of your body.
Footwear is the biggest cause of foot problems. With most footwear designed more for style than comfort, it’s no wonder people are having trouble with their feet. This is no joke. 1 in 3 women put their feet at risk for fashion. With over 26 bones, the foot is one of the most intricate and complicated parts of the body.
This week’s Condition of the Week is Foot Dysfunctions. We are going to cover several foot dysfunctions, their cause and what can be done to resolve those symptoms. Why? Because solving a foot dysfunction can solve a whole host of other symptoms you probably wouldn’t expect. Interestingly, patients with foot dysfunctions often have problems in their knees, hips, lower back and spine. Our goal is to provide you with some basic, yet valuable information to provide you with some foot pain relief!
As a chiropractor and specialist in foot dysfunctions and orthotic placement, I often see patients who have improper alignment in their feet who may not even feel pain in their feet at all. Symptoms of foot dysfunction vary widely depending on the individual.
Our feet are the foundation for our entire kinetic chain. They are the basis of alignment throughout our entire body. When our feet are not functioning properly, it can cause big problems for our physical health. We know better than to build a house on a rocky foundation. We understand that if the foundation is weak or uneven, the house will develop cracking in the walls and the flooring. The same goes for our feet. When our feet are out of alignment and lack proper support, more serious problems develop in other areas of our body.
Symptoms of Improper Foot Support
What shows up when our feet are in dismay? Short and long-distance runners typically have foot pain from consistent pressure, friction and pounding, especially if their feet are improperly aligned. Over time, this develops chronic problems to other parts of the body, including the skin in their feet. Skin problems result in calluses and corns.
What is the story on hammertoes and claw toes? These conditions occur in the front part of the feet. A hammertoe develops from rubbing and irritation on the top part of the bent toe. The joint of the toe then bends and becomes stuck in an unruly position. People with diabetes who develop hammertoes are at risk to develop infections or foot ulcers due to their lack of circulation in the feet.
A claw toe happens when the four smaller toes bent up at the joint where the toes and foot meet. They bend down at the middle joints and top joints. Claw toes develop most commonly from wearing improper fitting shoes and can result in surgery if not addressed properly.
People with Plantar Fasciitis struggle with stabbing pain, typically worse in the morning. The pain runs along the bottom of the foot and is caused by stretching and tearing of the fascia, the tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot due to overuse or improper foot support (common in runners). (See illustration to the right)
People with plantar fasciitis often develop heel spurs. Heel spurs are calcium deposits along the heel of the foot. Most of the time heel spurs are painless however, they have been known to cause exacerbated heel pain. This simply creates more havoc with the already sharp jabbing pains of plantar fasciitis.
Pain and inflammation in the front part of the foot under your toes or in the ball of your foot is Metatarsalgia. This injury is pretty common in athletes who participate in high impact sports. Oftentimes the pain comes on gradually over the course of many months. You may feel aching pain or you may simply feel a sensation in that area depending upon how old the injury is.
Bunions are painful swelling and stiffness in the big toe. Over time, the base of the big toe pushes outward against the first metatarsal bone resulting in a bony, often painful deformity at the base of the big toe.
If you are having trouble with your big toe, flexing as it should, you may have an injury or tightness to your flexor hallucis longus. (See illustration).
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by compression of the nerve running from the inside of the ankle to the foot resulting in a shooting burning pain in that area.
Athletes can get Turf Toe, a sprain to the ligaments around the big toe joint caused by hyperextension. (See illustration)
Heat and/or ice to a swollen or inflamed area to the foot can be helpful for immediate relief. Epson salt baths helps relieve arthritic joints and reduces swelling.
Off-the-shelf orthotics can be beneficial short term. These types of orthotics typically work with your arch type exclusively. There are others that offer heat molding which are a bit more customized. These types of orthotics have a life of approximately 6 months to a year. These options are more inexpensive than customized orthotics and may help with minor problems.
If you have problems that aren’t being alleviated by home remedies, it is important that you see someone who will provide you with a thorough screening to determine where your feet may be misaligned and causing problems in other parts of your kinetic chain.
One of the screenings we provide our patients is a FootMaxx Screening. Our FootMaxx scanner determines how your foot is carrying and distributing its weight through your entire gait cycle. FootMaxx is a digitized pressure plate that uses highly advanced proprietary software to not only scan your gait cycle, but also to evaluate whether there are any knee, hip, low back, balance and biomechanical issues.
In addition to the FootMaxx screening, our office provides an extensive foot exam similar to an eye exam from your optometrist. Just as an optometrist looks at your eye pressure, color blindness and diseases of the eye in addition to the quality of your vision, our office takes you through a thorough exam of the feet. This exam looks at proper alignment, gait and support. We examine your foot in its normal neutral position, take proper measurements and determine all of the corrections for your feet based upon proper alignment. We adjust your feet similar to the way we adjust the spine. Most people are unaware that our feet can become misaligned just as our spine can become misaligned.
I liken off-the-shelf foot orthotics to reading glasses that you can purchase in convenience stores. Reading glasses can provide minor improvements for reading performance and are beneficial for people with minimal visual impairment. Similarly, off-the-shelf orthotics can provide relief for minor archetype support. Unfortunately, we often find that the problems with the feet are much more complicated than a simple archetype adjustment.
100 years ago, when people were walking barefoot or on uneven surfaces (which our feet are accustomed to), foot orthotics weren’t necessary. When you’re walking on hard flat concrete surfaces or carpet consistently, it creates problems with foot alignment. As I mentioned before, the feet are pretty intricate. There’s 26 bones and 33 different joints that require “give”. Our feet want to be able to move and bend. Hard flat surfaces don’t provide our feet with that option.
The Treatment Process:
So you may be wondering, what does a typical foot screening and treatment protocol look like at All Seasons Full Body Chiropractic Center?
The first thing we do is a Footmaxx scan. As mentioned above, the Footmaxx scan determines how your foot is carrying and distributing its weight through your entire gait cycle.
After the Footmaxx scan we do a foot exam and adjustment to ensure proper alignment of your feet. We also take measurements. If there are corrections that need to be done, we can get that added right into your treatment protocol.
After the adjustment, a second FootMaxx scan is performed to compare against the first scan. This second scan shows the feet in the correct alignment to determine weight distribution and gait style based upon your properly aligned foot.
Results from the 2nd Footmaxx scan along with our exam recommendations are sent into the lab where the foot orthotics are made.
Most foot orthotic stores will fit you with an orthotic based off your foot in a dysfunctional position. It is so important to make sure your feet are adjusted properly before fitting you for an orthotic. When you are fitted for an orthotic based on a dysfunctional position, you only exacerbate your problem.
Once you receive your foot orthotics, it takes approximately two to five days to break into them. Our orthotics come with a money back guarantee if you are not fully satisfied.
If this information was helpful to you and you believe your symptoms can be reduced through foot adjustments and orthotics, give us a call! We can take you through an exam to determine whether you would benefit from prescription orthotics. What we do here is pretty unique compared to what is happening anyplace else in the area.
Our prescription orthotics come in a wide range of options depending on your needs. For more information or to schedule your appointment, go to http://drpaulbekkum.com/prescription-orthotics/
See our other blog post on the basics of Foot Orthotics here: Do you Need Foot Orthotics?
All Seasons Full Body Chiropractic prides itself in providing the most innovative and effective treatments for full body pain relief as an alternative to pain medication. Click on the links for more information about our Vibration Therapy, K-Laser Therapy or Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy.
At All Seasons Full Body Chiropractic Center, we provide drugless options to healthcare so you can get back to “Doing What Moves You”.
To Listen to This Episode on Dr. Bekkum's Drugless Life Podcast:
Dr. Paul Bekkum leads the team of health care professionals at All Seasons Full Body Chiropractic Center. His life's mission is to help people live active and healthy lives. Dr. Bekkum believes that pain doesn't have to be a life-long sentence. By focusing on a person's whole body, Dr. Bekkum can help detect, correct, and prevent health problems. Dr. Bekkum was born and raised in River Falls, WI, and attended University of Wisconsin - River Falls, then graduated from Northwestern College of Chiropractic in 1992. In addition to being a Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Paul Bekkum is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology. Dr. Bekkum is a team chiropractor for the NDSU Rodeo team.