Foot & Ankle Pain | Chiropractic | Ravenswood Chiropractic
Chicago Chiropractic Office Provides Expert Care for Foot Pain Relief
Chiropractic adjustments of the complex foot and ankle joint in combination with physiotherapy and custom orthotic support are a safe and effective way to relieve foot and ankle pain and correct the underlying condition to prevent relapse.
Understanding Foot Pain – Anatomy of the Foot
The feet carry all our weight. As such they are able to sustain incredible pressure and possess remarkable resilience and flexibility. By the same token, the burden our feet quite literally bear leaves them open to a bevy of potentially painful and even debilitating conditions. Fortunately, chiropractic offers a safe, non-invasive, and above all effective method of treatment for most of these conditions.
One-fourth (or 25%) of all the bones contained in the human body are located in the feet—26 bones in all, between the ankles, feet, and toes. The feet have 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendon, and ligaments, along with a complete network of nerves, blood vessels, skin, and soft tissues.
The foot is composed of three different parts:
- the forefoot—made up of 5 toes (or phalanges) and the bones that connect them (or metatarsals). The phalanges are connected to the metatarsals by joints at the ball of the foot. The big toe in particular (or the hallux) is made of two bones called the distal and proximal bones connected at the interphalangeal joint. The forefoot is responsible for bearing half of the body’s weight and balancing pressure on the balls of the feet
- the midfoot—made up of the arch of the foot (itself composed of 5 tarsal bones), responsible for acting as a shock absorber. The bones of the midfoot are connected to those of both the hindfoot and forefoot by the plantar fascia.
- the hindfoot—made up of three joints that link the midfoot to the ankle (or talus). It includes the heel bone (or calcaneus), which is the largest bone of the foot.
Foot & Toe Pain Conditions Commonly Seen In Our Chicago Office
Foot and toe pain can result from a number of different conditions or causes. Common foot and toe pain related conditions we see and have successfully treated in our office include the following:
Hallux Valgus – otherwise known as bunions, this is a condition that occurs when the big toe is turned inward to point toward the second toe. When this happens, a bump can form on the inner edge of the big toe that can be painful.
Symptoms of bunions include the following:
- Big toe turned inward toward the others
- Redness and calluses on the big toe’s inner edge
- Bump of bone on the same spot
- Pain above the joint of the big toe, made worse with pressure caused by shoes
Bunions are often caused by wearing improper shoes—either too tight or high-heeled. As such, they tend to occur more frequently in women than men. Hallux valgus can also be hereditary, and a person born with abnormal bones in their feet may be prone to bunions.
Gout – a type of arthritis, it is caused by uric acid building up in the joints. When this happens, they build up as crystals which lead to swelling and pain. There are two types of gout that can be diagnosed:
- Acute gout—can be quite painful and usually affects just one joint
- Chronic—involve repeat occurrences of pain and swelling, and can involve more than just a single joint
The following symptoms of gout (and in particular attacks of acute gout) can appear suddenly and tend to involve just one or a few joints, typically toe or ankle joints:
- Warmth and redness over the joint
- Tenderness over the joint to the point where laying a bed sheet over it may hurt
- Nighttime throbbing or crushing pain that can become excruciating
It is important to take note that attacks of gout may vanish, seemingly “on their own”, in a matter of a few days, but then may reappear on and off over time thereafter.
The cause of gout is above-normal levels of uric acid in the body, either because the body makes too much of it or has too hard a time getting rid of it. The causes for this are uncertain, but factors may include heredity, gender (gout occurs more frequently in men and post-menopausal women), caffeine, alcohol consumption, and other dietary factors.
Also at risk for gout are people with diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, certain types of anemia, leukemia, and those who take water pills.
The treatment option most commonly recommended for gout is nutrition and diet counseling.
Metatarsalgia – though it can be used a more general term for pain and inflammation in the balls of the feet, metatarsalgia is the swelling of a nerve running through two bones of the balls of the feet (or metatarsals) can be most affected—for both the better and the worse—by the quality of your footwear. (Women’s footwear in particular is a prime culprit in causing metatarsalgia.)
This makes metatarsalgia a relatively easy condition to treat with simple methods like custom foot orthotics. Ultrasound therapy has also proven effective in treatment of this condition.
Metatarsalgia is a common condition and rarely debilitating. Pain can be acute, recurring, or chronic.
As this condition can be caused by sustained or frequent pressure on the metatarsals over time, physically active people who do a lot of running and jumping are especially at risk.
Morton’s Neuroma – referring to when the nerve tissue thickens between the toes (most commonly the third and fourth toes), symptoms include the following:
- tingling sensation between those toes
- a sharp shooting pain or burning sensation (sometimes in the balls of the feet, sometimes in the toes)
- pain that worsens when pressure is applied (such as when wearing shoes)
- pain that increases over time
More commonly found in women than men, Morton’s neuroma may be caused by a number of different factors (though exact causes are still unclear), including:
- flat feet
- poor toe positioning
- bunions, hammer toes, and other problems of the forefoot
- high arches
- high-heeled and tight-fitting shoes
Common treatment options for Morton’s neuroma include foot mobilization, orthotics, and guidance in choosing shoes.
Plantar Fasciitis – irritation and inflammation of the thick tissue responsible for holding up the bottoms of the feet.
Pain from plantar fasciitis, most typically felt in the heel, is often the most intense in the morning and gradually lessens during the day until it becomes a dull aching that lessens further with rest. Pain also tends to occur or increase after long bouts of walking, and can in fact make walking difficult.
Risk factors for plantar fasciitis may include:
- high arches or flat feet
- obesity or sudden weight gain
- tightness in the Achilles tendon
Treatment options most effective in treating plantar fasciitis include adjustments of the foot, myofascial release, orthotics, ultrasound, and stretching. Another relatively simple condition of the foot to treat, 95% of plantar fasciitis cases respond well to this conservative care plan.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – not to be confused with carpal tunnel syndrome, which is of the hand and wrist, tarsal tunnel syndrome is of the foot and ankle—though the conditions are in many other ways similar. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is when a nerve that runs through the tarsal tunnel of the feet gets compressed and causes any of an array of symptoms that can occur anywhere throughout the length of the nerve.
Typically felt around the inside of the ankle or the bottom of the foot, symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome may include numbness, tingling, a burning sensation, and pain (including the possibility of shooting pain).
Risk factors for tarsal tunnel syndrome include flat feet, an injury (like a sprained ankle), certain conditions involving the nerves, veins, and tendons running through the tarsal tunnel, like varicose veins, ganglion cysts, swollen tendons, or arthritic bone spurs.
For acute pain from tarsal tunnel syndrome, the doctor might recommend ice, rest, compression, elevation and physiotherapy. Then, once the pain has subsided, chiropractic adjustments of the associated joints can also be beneficial, as well as use of custom orthotics
Chiropractic for Foot & Toe Pain
When you come into our office for an appointment, the doctor will discuss your symptoms with you, review a medical history, and conduct an examination.
Once the doctor has diagnosed the cause of your foot and/or toe pain, he will design a treatment program specific to you that may employ any of a number of techniques, including those mentioned above.
There’s no need to suffer in foot or toe pain another moment. Call our office today for evaluation and treatment.