How to Reverse Foot Pain for Happy, Healthy Feet
The human body is like a house, it needs a stable foundation. Our feet are our foundation and problems in them may result in foot pain as well as problems throughout the rest of the body.
Your feet are supported by three arches of fascia, muscles or ligaments – the transverse arch, which runs across the ball of your foot and two longitudinal arches, from the toes to the heel.
We spend a great deal of time standing, walking and running on hard surfaces in ill-fitted shoes. Therefore up to 80% of us may at some point have troubles with our feet. One of the most common problems is the collapsing of the arch. The result is “overpronation” or inward rolling of the ankles and feet when we walk. Daily activities such as walking, standing, jumping and running pull on the plantar fascia causing microscopic tears, inflammation, and pain known as plantar fasciitis. There may be a sharp pain in the heel or along the arch of the foot and it is often worse first thing in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
Over-pronation can also result in increased strain along the inside of the knee, internal rotation of the hip, and/or un-leveling of the pelvis all of which may affect the back. Improper alignment can lead to early wear and tear and cause conditions such as arthritis, bunions or hammer toes.
Helpful Hints for foot pain:
- Soft tissue techniques and joint alignment by your chiropractor will help
with correction and healing of the problem.
- Proper arch support is also very important. For mild problems, shoes with built-in arch support or a good pair of over the counter inserts should be enough. In moderate to severe cases, custom-fitted orthotics will offer greater benefit.
- Be consistent with orthotic use. You will benefit most by wearing them in all of your shoes. In the summer, wear custom orthotic sandals whose footbed is comprised of your own custom made orthotic.
- Run on proper surfaces. Grassy surfaces or running tracks are ideal. Dirt paths tend to get packed hard, so try running alongside them. Pavement and cement are very hard on our feet; surfaces such as these should be avoided.
- Proper hydration – your whole body benefits
Strengthening exercises and preventative measures for foot pain:
- In bare feet place a hand towel on a smooth floor. Use your toes to scrunch and pull the towel toward you. This strengthens the muscles that naturally support your arches.
- Stand with feet hip distance apart. Press big toes into the floor while lifting the other eight toes, then press those eight toes into the floor while lifting big toes.
- While sitting, roll your entire foot over a tennis ball, or in very acute cases you can use a frozen water bottle.
By Dr. Kim Macanuel, BSc, DC.