Your chiropractor understands the importance of healthy feet on the function of your lower extremity joints and tissues, as well as on your spine and posture and will work with you to maintain or restore your foot health. The chiropractic method of foot and ankle ailments involves natural methods of and is a conservative, non-invasive approach respecting your body’s Inherent integrity and design. Many chiropractors believe the foot, like the spine, can heal itself when proper structural alignment and tissue tone are restored.
Chiropractic foot care strategies encourage long-term foot, ankle, knee, hip and spine health which may address the underlying cause of many common foot and shin ailments. The chiropractic approach to foot care also seeks to prevent chronic musculoskeletal health problems, such as knee osteoarthritis, which may be associated with faulty footwear and excessive joint loading.[i],[ii] Restoring natural foot strength, flexibility, and function are core principles of chiropractic foot care.
Your chiropractor can examine your feet and suggest in-office and at-home treatments that are both corrective and preventive. Your chiropractor may also offer advice about the best footwear for you and how certain commercial foot products may support or inhibit your body’s structural health. Foot care the chiropractic way is a safe, simple and cost-effective alternative to foot surgery, drugs and other conventional approaches to natural foot care.
Foot Form and Function:
Your foot and ankle joints are the first links in a kinetic chain that begins at your toes and travels up through your body to your skull. Your feet are the platform of your body and essential for the proper functioning of this chain to ensure your body segments work together in harmony to generate efficient and healthy movement. A structurally healthy human foot platform should be widest at the ends of the toes for optimal support. A foot that possesses excellent toe splay and is widest at the ends of the toes may improve your balance, protect you from over pronation (excessive inward rolling of your foot and ankle) during weight-bearing activity and successfully absorb and disperse the forces experienced during walking or running.[iii] Natural, Non-Invasive Treatments:
Your chiropractor is a musculoskeletal health expert who may use several natural, non-invasive methods to treat foot problems. Chiropractic foot care strategies differ depending on the nature of your injury or ailment and your chiropractor’s treatment preferences. Common chiropractic foot care methods to address recent foot or ankle injuries include P.R.I.C.E. (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation), foot manipulation, or adjusting, therapeutic taping procedures, soft tissue mobilization using the hands or tools, appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises.
Many chronic or long-standing foot complaints may benefit from chiropractic care by restoring normal, healthy foot anatomy and removing the factors, especially improper footwear, that cause foot and toe deformation and dysfunction over time. Some chiropractors may also recommend specific foot pad or shoe inserts specific to your foot needs.
Important Footwear Considerations:
Wearing footwear that encourages proper foot anatomy and function is one of the most important considerations in treating numerous foot and ankle problems. Four design features commonly included in conventional footwear may contribute to foot and toe deformation or discomfort and should be considered when shopping for shoes or boots. These features include: tapering toe boxes, heel elevation, toe spring (i.e., the upward ramping that is built into the ends of many shoes) and rigid, inflexible soles.[iv] Tapering toe boxes and heel elevation may be the most problematic shoe design features of all and you should consider searching for flat shoes with a toe box wide enough to accommodate natural, healthy toe splay.
Healthy Foot Care Strategies:
Soaking your feet in warm water with Epsom salt for acute foot injuries, tea tree oil for fungal nails and skin is good for your feet. Add lavender or other essential oils to the water for heightened enjoyment of your experience.
Adopting healthy foot care strategies may help you treat existing foot and ankle ailments, prevent long-term musculoskeletal problems throughout your body and improve your quality of life. Selecting the footwear that best supports your natural foot health is extremely important, as is seeking regular care from your chiropractor for your existing foot complaints.
[i] Kerrigan DC, Todd MK, Riley PO. Knee osteoarthritis and high-heeled shoes. The Lancet. 1998 May; 351(9113): 1399-401.
[ii] Shakoor N, Block JA. Walking barefoot decreases loading on the lower extremity joints in knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2006 Sep; 54(9):2923-2927.
[iii] McClanahan, Ray. Personal Interview. 21 May 2012.
[iv] Rossi WA. Why shoes make normal gait impossible. Podiatry Management. March 1999,50-61.