Often overlooked, your feet are very hard workers! They’re designed to bear the weight of your entire body with every movement, and act as shock absorbers between you and the earth.
When your feet are functioning properly, you move with ease and comfort, as the impact of each step is distributed evenly up through the joints of the body – ankles, hips and lower back. When the tissues of your feet or ankles stop functioning well, this ease is challenged and you may experience pain in one or both feet, or in other connected areas, such as your hips or knees.
There are 33 joints in each foot and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments that support and move them. All of these structures need to be working and moving well together to allow for proper biomechanical function. If just one joint or one muscle isn’t moving properly, tiny adjustments will be made without your conscious brain’s knowledge, and over time this can affect your gait (walking pattern) and overall posture, leading to pain in other areas.
Common causes of foot and ankle pain
- Traumatic injury, such as a strain or sprain to ankle ligaments
- Ill-fitting shoes, or shoes that stress the bones, muscles and tendons of your foot, such as high-heels
- Osteoarthritis, which is caused by poor foot and ankle biomechanics over long periods of time
- Irritation or inflammation of the plantar fascia, the strong band of connective tissue that runs between the heel and the ball of your foot
- Reduced mobility in any of the many joints of the foot or ankle which can lead to bunions and arthritis if untreated
- Gout, which is treated with diet and medication where needed
Methods for treating foot and ankle pain
For foot or ankle pain, we recommend you start with a chiropractic appointment. Once you’ve scheduled an appointment, your practitioner will perform a consultation, examination and if necessary, refer you out for diagnostic imaging such as an x-ray.
Based on your diagnosis, your practitioner will determine an effective strategy to treat your condition. It may be as simple as gentle mobilisation and manipulation to get your feet moving better – or you might be referred to another bodywork modality, such as remedial massage or Myotherapy. All of these are great ways to manage and relieve pain and biomechanical dysfunction in your feet and ankles. Each aims to diagnose and address the underlying cause of your pain rather than just the symptoms. If we determine that orthotics or further treatment would be of benefit, we will refer you to a Podiatrist.
As a holistic practice, our aim is for safe, non-invasive and effective treatment for our clients. Where possible, we will avoid recommending medications, which merely mask pain and can slow recovery time. Through physical treatment, we restore your movement and comfort to gain long-lasting improvements, including:
- Reduced pain and discomfort
- Decreased inflammation
- Improved range of motion
- Improved flexibility
- Increased muscle tone and strength