What causes foot problems?
Your feet are extremely complex structures composed of bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and skin. They may develop certain disorders (some of which originate in other parts of the body). They are also subject to injuries and other problems caused by normal wear and tear over years of supporting the weight of your body and making it possible for you to stand, walk, run, and jump.
The most obvious symptoms of foot trouble are pain and dysfunction (limping, favoring one foot or the other, inability to put weight on the heel and/or the toes). Foot pain can be due to ill-fitting, inappropriate footwear that cramps your feet; injuries that keep you from walking well–or at all; sprains which stretch or tear ligaments (which connect bones); and stress fractures of bones in the foot, which can result from accidents or overuse while engaging in sports or exercise. Just as foot disorders may originate elsewhere in the body, problems experienced in the feet can cause difficulties in other parts of the body.
How can foot problems endanger other parts of your body?
Foot pain and dysfunction caused by illness or injury can force you to modify your gait (the way you walk) and create significant stresses on the joints of your legs, hips, and lower spine. Your feet are the foundation for your entire body. When they suffer from pain, misalignments, malformations, and malfunctions, your whole body is placed in jeopardy. Even without pain, foot dysfunction can cause your whole body to overcompensate, which can lead to back pain and even headache, not to mention the emotional stress of discomfort and limitations on movement that can spread from the feet upward.
Who suffers from foot problems?
No one is safe from foot problems. But older or overweight individuals, diabetics, and serious athletes and dancers who place great demands on their feet are more prone to foot disorders than others are. If you are troubled by chronic or recurrent foot pain and/or dysfunction, you would be wise to consult a chiropractor, who has experience relieving such pain and preventing it from causing even more painful and disabling joint, muscle, connective tissue, and nerve problems in other areas of your body.
What can chiropractic do?
A chiropractor can help you overcome foot and ankle problems that can cause additional problems in other structures: your legs, hips, lower back. Your chiropractor will employ a number of diagnostic tests, including examining your gait and foot function, and take a thorough history to assess the nature of your foot problem. He or she will palpate (move) your feet and ankles to measure any limitations in range of motion, to identify what is causing your pain, and determine the best course of treatment or if referral to a specialist is called for.
Chiropractic adjustments of your feet–and elsewhere in your body, as required–can restore function and relieve pain. As a result, other body structures can be relieved of or protected from painful disorders stemming from or causing your foot problems. In addition, your chiropractor may recommend shoe inserts (orthotics) to help solve some of your foot problems and can provide nutritional and lifestyle counseling that could help reduce biological and psychological stresses on your body as a whole, improving your overall well-being, including your foot health.