Chiropractors can be a helpful resource in the treatment of foot and ankle pain.
Foot and Ankle Problems
There are a variety of problems that can occur around the foot and ankle. These are common complaints that can involve the skin and blood vessels, the toes and nails, and the nerves, fascia, bones, tendons, muscles, or ligaments. Plantar fasciitis affects the heel and arch, stone bruises impact the fat pad of the heel, fractures can occur in any of the bones, metatarsalgia causes pain in the ball of the foot, Morton’s neuroma can be responsible for pain and numbness at the base of the toes, sesamoiditis concerns inflammation of the tendons by the big toe, and arthritis can also be at blame for foot and ankle pain. The toes can be irritated by bunions, hammer toe, and claw toe, which are generally caused by poor footwear. Toes can also develop pain from ingrown nails, turf toe, sprains, fractures, corns, and calluses. Sometimes tendinitis inflammation or neuropathy nerve damage is the reason for a patient’s foot pain. Heel spurs occur when the bottom of the heel has abnormal bone growths. It may be caused by shoes, certain activities, or abnormal posture or gait. Walking and standing are painful with heel spurs. High arches and flat feet can trigger heel spurs.1 In addition, running and jumping, and “stretching of the plantar fascia” can lead to calcium deposits building up. Age, being overweight, and diabetes can contribute to plantar fasciitis and possibly heel spurs. Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are often associated.2 Anterior ankle impingement syndrome comes from bone spurs that develop “in the front of the ankle joint”. The spurs cause a pinch and pain when the foot pushes up. Sometimes this disorder is called “athlete’s ankle”.3 Chopart’s fracture is “a dislocation of the mid-tarsal joints”. It is a severe injury often caused by a fall or car accident.4 The mid-tarsal joint can also be sprained from jumping activities.5 Many times, foot pain and injuries can be helped by changing footwear and following RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) treatment. More serious injuries may require surgery. Pain medications and steroid injections could also be prescribed. Splinting, orthotics, and physical therapy are other traditional treatments.6
Chiropractors help patients avoid medication side effects and surgery by using conservative treatments. They may prescribe RICE and orthotics to patients. If a patient is overweight, chiropractors can recommend dietary changes and supplements. Chiropractic treatment is enhanced by patients learning exercises and stretches to speed their recovery. Alphabet exercises, for example, are performed by the patient sitting in a chair and tracing letters of the alphabet with their foot. Some chiropractic offices offer massage treatments, as well.7 Chiropractors can also adjust the feet to help bring them back into alignment.8