Foot Pain and What to Do About It
The feet form the foundation of the body. Foot pain can be common because each foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Estimates vary, but the average Canadian takes approximately 5,000 to 9,000 steps a day, which is a fair amount of time on our feet. Foot problems are common and often due to injuries such as sprains and strains, excessive pronation, and lower back issues. Foot issues can affect not only the feet but commonly also the knees, hips, pelvis, and spine.
The type of footwear we use can have an impact on our feet as much as positioning or steps taken. For instance, flip-flops are common during warmer months but provide no support and minimal to no cushioning. High heels can also be problematic as they force the foot into a plantar flexed position. Heels also typically lack support and cushioning as well.
Possible Indicators of Foot Problems
- Foot pain
- Callus formation, bunions, and corns
- Knee pain
- Repeated ankle sprains
- Lower back pain
- Hip and pelvis problems
- Shin splints
- Plantar fasciitis
- Uneven or excessive wearing of shoes
- Achilles tendonitis
Steps to Improve Foot Pain and Health
- Custom orthotics are great for those that need them. Problems with how our feet work when we walk, such as excessive pronation, are common. Normalizing and improving foot function with orthotics can help the knees, hips, pelvis, lower back, and spine as well as many foot problems. Custom orthotics can only be though healthcare providers such as podiatrists or chiropractors. Alternative options include insoles that can be purchased at running stores and pharmacies. Insoles are often a better option to what is found in shoes but not as effective as custom orthotics.
- Exercise and stretching are good for virtually anything including the feet. Skipping rope is a wonderful way to strengthen the strap muscles that form the main arch of the feet. Keeping the many joints of your feet mobile with stretching is also important to prevent arthritis and keep the feet pain free and working as they should. I recommend curling the toes by stretching the top of your foot either by hand or pushing down with feet while the toes are curled. This is a great stretch. As well, doing circles and figure eights with the feet clockwise and counter-clockwise is another good strategy.
- Having proper footwear is critical for foot health. Sure we want our shoes to look good but it’s more important that they support our feet and suit the demands we place on them. People who run regularly should replace shoes frequently because foam loses its cushioning with use and time. Look for footwear that is comfortable, fits properly, and offers adequate cushioning and support for what you intend to do with them. I recommend a firm heel for support and a shoe that doesn’t twist easily. It’s ideal to replace your shoes before they become excessively worn.
- Chiropractic is helpful for all joints, not just spinal ones. Because the feet have so many bones and joints and because they are under stress, fixation and misalignments occur commonly. Most chiropractors are trained at treating the feet. If you’re having a problem with your feet, bring it up with a chiropractor. Common foot conditions treated by chiropractors include: plantar fasciitis, neuromas, ankle sprains, fixated joints, foot pain, tendonitis, altered sensations such as numbness and more.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any further questions call us any time, we’d love to help!
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