Causes of Ankle and Foot Pain
Pain in the foot or ankle can really impact one’s life. You don’t have to be a Cincinnati mail carrier to realize this. It becomes very clear after a day or two of limping just how important your feet and ankles are. Did you know a foot problem can cause headaches, low back pain, hip pain and knee pain? It’s true! Our body is just like a chain made up of bones held together by ligaments. The scientific name for this is a Kinetic Chain. This is why after a couple of days of limping due to ankle sprain, other parts of your body begin to hurt. This is due to a shifting or compensation in the body. This shifting causes other joints to be loaded improperly. If left uncorrected, these compensatory changes can become permanent leading to other musculoskeletal problems like the ones mentioned above. Most problems in the foot have an insidious or gradual onset.
More about the Foot and Foot Pain
Mechanical changes in the foot lead to a variety of problems. There are three arches in foot. All are necessary and have a specific purpose. A high arch can cause painful calluses to form at the bottom base of the foot where the toes attach this is called Metatarsalgia. This type of arch problem has a variety of causes. If the arches flatten out, this will cause excess stress in the ligamentous structures (specifically the plantar aponeurosis) in the bottom of the foot, leading to heel spur formation also known as plantar fasciitis. If you have heel pain when you get out of bed in the morning, it is likely that you have mechanical problems in your foot. If left unchecked, this can lead to heel spurs. Pronation and supination can also occur in the feet. Both situations cause mechanical problems in the foot that need to be corrected. If left uncorrected, compensatory changes will occur in the knees hips and spine. Look how your shoes are wearing. Are they wearing evenly? If not, you need to have your feet examined.
Bones in the Human Foot
Believe it or not 1/4 of the bones in our body reside in our feet. Because of this fact, there are many joints in our feet. However, because we wear shoes most of the time some of the joints in our feet can become fixated or locked. When this happens the surrounding joints become overworked, sore and at times painful. If you feel like you have lost motion in your feet, it’s likely that some of the joints in your foot and ankle are fixated or subluxated. You should have your feet checked.
Chiropractic Foot Pain Treatment
In many cases, mechanical problems can be resolved by restoring normal motion in the foot. If problems exist with the arches of the foot, weight bearing castings can be made of the feet so orthotics can be crafted to correct the arch problem.
Ankle Strains and Ankle Sprains
By far the most common of all ankle injuries is a Strain or Sprain. Strain is usually caused from a sudden forcible contraction or sudden stretching of a muscle. Damage is usually limited to muscular or tendonous structures. Uncomplicated ankle strains are classified as:
- Mild – Little or no swelling or tear.
- Moderate – Partial tearing of muscle tissue with inflammation.
- Severe – Complete tearing of a muscle group.
An ankle sprain is caused by a forceful movement at a joint. When this occurs a partial or complete tear of ligamentous structures including the joint capsule due to over stretching. Uncomplicated ankle sprains are classified as:
- Mild – Slight hemorrhage of capsular fluids.
- Moderate – Partial tearing of the ligaments with edema (swelling).
- Severe – Complete tearing of ligaments with edema (swelling).
Unfortunately, one of the consequences of a moderate to severe sprain is reoccurrence. This is due to scar tissue which can lead to ligamentous changes causing the joint to become biomechanically unstable. Anyone who has ever severely sprained an ankle knows this. It is typically that same ankle that gets sprained in the future.
Treating Ankle Sprains and Ankle Strains
Both strains and sprains of the ankle should be examined. Proper treatment early can help to eliminate future ankle problems and can shorten the rehabilitation time.
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