So I put it out there on facebook and I did get a request for this article… Its a pretty broad topic but suffice it to say that I do treat these things. Often.
Feet are amazing things really. We walk on them all day and pretty much forget about them until they hurt. There are a huge number of diagnoses related to feet some of the most common being plantar fasciitis, fallen metatarsal head (fallen arches), stress fractures, tarsal tunnel syndrome, turf toe, sesmoiditis and the list goes on and on and on…
From a simple sprain to chronic pain, there are a host of different solutions for different problems.
One of the things you hear associated with foot pain is often the prescription of custom made orthotics. These little insoles can be amazing as therapy for the right foot condition. The drawback is that they are also expensive. Although lots of people have plans to cover some or all of the cost, some people aren’t as lucky. While they are a useful tool for things like fallen arches (fallen metatarsal heads) they aren’t the only solution.
When a patient comes to me with foot pain, fallen arches and tight calves I always prescribe strengthening exercises for the small muscles of the feet. – these are easy to do exercises that will help support the natural arch and help a person retrain themselves to avoid the problem in future. These include fun things like picking up marbles with your toes, and scrunching towels with the toes as well as learning to position the foot in the proper “short foot” position. (this one is much harder than the other two and really needs to be shown in person in a hands on fashion).
Also effective are muscle techniques such as ART for the muscles of the foot and scar tissue treatment if that is deemed to be a problem in the specific patient and adjustments of the small bones of the feet. If these bones are ‘stuck’ and not moving through their normal range of motion it causes inflammatory changes surrounding the joints and irritation and inflammation in those regions – this decreases the range of motion even further and increase the pain – all super easy to solve with a small corrective adjustment in the area.
The last thing I did want to mention was that if you have a fallen arch it tends to put a bunch of strain on the calf or back of the lower leg – the mechanics of the arch falling actually pulls on the gastrocs/soleus complex- those two giant muscles at the back of your leg attached to the Achilles tendon. This makes the muscle appear tight or reflexively be tight – stretching it will really do very little as the problem is in the foot to begin with – correcting the arch with exercise, hands on treatment and an arch support (custom or otherwise) is the first course of action – this will likely improve the tightness in the back of the lower leg – if not then we can show some stretches to remedy this at that point but in general it corrects itself if we have done the rest of the therapy.
So, if you are suffering with foot pain please don’t wait any longer! Call us to find out how we can help you.