End / Alleviate Foot Pain
I had a patient who came in to our office after living with two years of excruciating foot pain, lower back and hip pain. She had been to several doctors, including an arthritis specialist, and had been diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis and the need for foot surgery – each doctor claiming to have discovered the “root cause” for her intense pain. Yet, none of the courses of action or drugs that the doctors prescribed seemed to work for her. After feeling frustrated and disappointed, a family member recommended that she seek out an alternative opinion by visiting a chiropractor.
She came to our office in desperation and pain, exhausted by the countless doctor visits that she had been to previously. In just one visit, I was able discover the real cause of her pain – her feet were out of alignment. She had been living with this foot pain for over five years and it never occurred to her that the hip and back pains might be connected to her feet.
This patient’s story is not uncommon. Put quite simply, I find that most foot pains are a result of the bones of the feet being out of alignment. Because of the improper movement of the foot, the joints, ligaments and tendons become overstretched. It is because of this that patients often experience pain in their feet. Furthermore, pain that manifests itself in the feet can eventually lead to other serious pains elsewhere in the body. But we will get in to that later.
When such pain is felt in the heel or arch areas, this can be called Plantar Fasciitis. This is a medical term for the pain that results from over-working the tissue that connects your heel to your toes. In cases such as these, your primary care physician or family doctor will often recommend that you rest, stretch your foot, get massage and take anti-inflammatory pain relievers. However, there may be another solution for your pain that is easy, natural and has long-term, lasting effects – a chiropractic adjustment to the feet.
When a patient with foot pain visits my office, I first examine the foot and a patient’s back for movement ability. The examination covers all parts of the foot including the heel, arch, toes and so forth. I also assess how long the person has experienced the problem. I also find out what doctors they’ve already seen for treatment and what has already been done to try and correct the problem. In my experience, the misalignment of the foot bones is the primary cause for the pain and my patients often feel instant relief on the first adjustment to the foot in our office!
If it is found that the foot does have proper alignment and movement, I will move forward with the examination. I will look for other causes of the pain and rule them out one by one. X-rays are done to ensure that the foot is sound and stable. Luckily, these X-rays can be done conveniently in our office. Other common pain culprits can include corns and calluses, bunions, ingrown toenails, heel spurs, arthritis or gout, circulation problems, nerve damage (Neuropathy) sometimes caused by diabetes. Even these conditions can be relieved with an adjustment to the feet.
It is true that many of us choose to ignore our foot pain symptoms and go about our day-to-day business for a variety of reasons that we may deem appropriate. However, not caring for your feet and allowing them to function in pain can be compared to an automobile driving with poor tires that are out of alignment. It greatly jeopardizes the integrity of the entire vehicle, inevitably causing other problems. Our bodies are no different.
Over time, your feet being out of alignment will cause you to change your walking gait or even start limping due to pain. The resulting abnormal posturing can eventually affect a person’s knees, hips, back and various other parts of the body. In my experience, the approach of eliminating pain within the feet often results in correct posture returning, which may also make the pain in other parts of a patient’s body subside. I see chiropractic foot adjustment as a relatively simple solution to pain, with the possibility of dramatic results. I have seen many serious cases over the years - such as long-term back problems, show great improvement with chiropractic realignment of the feet.
Other potential aspects of foot pain correction may be as simple as acquiring special or more practical shoes, arch supports, massages or hot and cold foot baths to stimulate the foot and increase circulation for the muscles, joints, ligaments, etc. Sometimes my prescribed remedies can be as easy as taking off your shoes and walking barefoot in the sand! Our office will also make nutrition and fitness recommendations as needed and suggest supplements that could help your feet and enhance overall health.
People often ask me, “What is the difference between chiropractic foot care and podiatry and do the two work in conjunction?” Among other differentiating factors, we offer very different treatments. For example, your podiatrist may want to do an invasive, complicated surgery rather than simply trying a realignment or adjustment of the feet. In this case, chiropractic care can be seen as a “natural” alternative to a surgery that may not really be needed. Coordination with podiatrists is usually not necessary, but I’m always happy to communicate with any physician in order to arrange the best standard of care for my patients.
In their article Understanding The Nature and Mechanism of Foot Pain, Fiona Hawke and Joshua Burns examined the effect foot pain can have on approximately 25% of the population. They found that it is “often disabling and can impair mood, behavior, and overall quality of life,” (Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 2009).
Though we often underestimate the importance of our feet, this statistic alone is enough to make us rethink the way we view these parts of the body and the role they play in our lives. Our feet support the entire weight of our bodies and, in turn, our lives, and can have a dramatic effect on our overall health. Start taking care of your feet today! We’d love to see you in our office.
Dr. James Keppler
Sacramento’s most trusted chiropractor
The first step to learn about how to end foot pain is to schedule a free consultation in our office to discuss the specifics of your case.