Foot Pain

MY FOOT ACHES


Foot pain is very common and can be caused by many different things but the more likely causes are trauma, disease or poor biomechanical alignment.  Approximately 75% of the people in the United States experience foot pain at some point in their lives.


The foot is made up of 26 bones and 33 joints and more than 120 muscles, nerves, and ligaments.  Everyday this complex structure supports ones weight, acts as a shock absorber, and maintains one’s balance, therefore it is no wonder that foot pain is so common.


Foot pain can affect any part of your foot, from your toes to the back of your heel.  It can be simply annoying or it can be more serious, especially if it affects your ability to work, play sports, or get around easily.  Minor foot pain usually responds well to home treatment, but disabling pain can lead to long-term damage or disability if not treated properly.


CAUSES OF FOOT PAIN


Stress Fracture – A stress fracture in the foot usually results from a break or rupture in any of the five metatarsal bones.  These fractures are caused by overuse during strenuous exercise, particularly jogging and high impact aerobics. Women are at higher risk for stress fracture than men.


Heel Pain – Heel pain is the most common foot problem and can occur in the front, back, or bottom of the heel.  Types of heel pain include Achilles Tendinitits, Bursitis, Heel Spur Syndrome, Excessive Pronation, Haglund’s Deformity, Flat Feet, and Plantar Fasciitis.


Achilles Tendinitis – Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.  It is caused by small tears in the tendon from overuse or injury.  This condition is most common in people who engage in high-impact exercise such as jogging, racquetball, and tennis.


Bursitis of the Heel – Bursitis of the heel is an inflammation of the bursa, a small sack of fluid beneath the heel bone.


Excessive Pronation – Pronation is the normal motion that allows the foot to adapt to uneven walking surfaces and to absorb shock.  Excessive pronation occurs when the foot has a tendency to turn inward and stretch and pull on the fascia.  Fascia is the fibrous connective tissue occurring in sheets beneath the surface of the skin and between muscles and groups of muscles.  Excessive pronation can cause not only heel pain, but also hip, knee, and lower back problems.


Haglund’s Deformity – Haglund’s deformity is a bony growth surrounded by tender tissue on the back of the heel bone.  It occurs when the back of the shoe repeatedly rubs against the back of the heel, aggravating the tissue and the underlying bone.


Heel Spur Syndrome – Heel spurs are calcium deposits that can develop under the heel bone as a result of the inflammation that occurs with plantar fasciitis.    Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are sometimes blamed interchangeably for pain, but plantar fasciitis can occur without heel spurs, and spurs commonly develop without causing any symptoms at all.


Flat Feet – Flat feet is a defect of the feet that eliminates the arches.  Although this condition is often inherited, arches can also fall in adulthood and most often affects women over 50.  Wearing high heels for long periods of time is a particular risk for flat feet.


Foot Injury – If you suspect that you have broken or fractured bones in a toe or foot, call a doctor, who will probably order x-rays.  Even if you can walk, you still might have a fracture.  People are often able to walk even if a foot bone has been fractured, particularly if it is a chipped bone or a toe fracture.


PREVENTION OF FOOT PAIN


Don’t ignore foot pain — it’s not normal.


Here are some tips to keep your feet pain free:


  • Make sure shoes fit properly.  Purchase new shoes later in the day when feet tend to be at their largest, and replace worn out shoes as soon as possible.
  • Select and wear the right shoe for specific activities (such as running shoes for running).
  • Alternate your shoes.  Don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day.
  • Avoid walking barefoot, which increases the risk for injury and infection.
  • In addition to wearing proper shoes and socks, walking often — and properly — can prevent foot injury and pain.
  • Exercises specifically for the toe and feet are easy to perform and help strengthen them and keep them flexible.


If you suffer from foot pain, call us for an evaluation appointment to see what chiropractic can do for you.