Why does my chiropractor care about my feet? Isn’t that what a podiatrist or chiropodist is for?
Another good question, why should a chiropractor care about feet?
There are several good reasons why as a chiropractor I am interested in feet. Most obviously, feet are the first thing that make contact with the ground and as such have a bearing on what occurs above them I.e, your ankles, your knees, hips and even your back and neck, areas you might expect me to be more interested in.
Why does my chiropractor care about my feet: Posture
If we take someone with flatter feet, meaning the arch on the inside of the foot is lower or absent altogether, this can cause the ankle to roll in when walking or running, causing more forces to be applied to the inside of the knee, tight muscles at the hip and weak glutes. This can lead to increased or imbalanced stresses at the lower back and other compensatory changes in the upper back and neck.
Why does my chiropractor care about my feet: Musculoskeletal conditions
A couple of common conditions we also see in the feet are plantar fasciitis and fat pad syndrome, these typically present as heel pain, either first step of the day or after rest( plantar fasciitis) or with prolonged activity (fat pad). These are conditions that as chiropractors we can easily manage and help educate the patient to manage at home. This might involve exercises for the muscles of the feet or lower legs, custom or off the shelf orthotics shoe inserts, heat or ice.
Why does my chiropractor care about my feet: Neurological conditions
Have you ever wondered why I may check sensation in your feet? I usually check 3 ways, with a very light touch using a tissue, with a sharp object ( paper clip or pinwheel) and lastly checking vibration sense with a tuning fork. Why do I do this? Checking three types of sensation checks three different pathways of the nervous system from the foot to the brain, a problem feeling these sensations tells me something about where the problem may be. Most often with someone with back pain it might mean that a disc is putting pressure on the nerves going to and coming from the feet. It might also be a sign that someone who is diabetic is having a worsening of their condition and are at greater risk of injury be it from lack of balance because they can’t feel the ground under their feet or from cuts to the feet or toes that may not heal well and cause ulceration.
I hope that briefly explains why a chiropractor might care about your feet.
If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, or show me your feet.
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