Foot and Ankle Pain

Many cases of pain in the ankle and foot are a result of injuries which may have occurred months or years before. The ankle consists of the two lower leg bones plus the large bone of the foot called the talus and the large heel bone, or calcaneus. In addition, the foot is made up of five other bones plus the five metatarsals and the bones of the toes themselves.

Many of the bones of the foot can be misaligned or blocked in their normal movement by injuries such as turning or twisting the ankle. The talus is particularly vulnerable since it has no major muscle attachments to help hold it in place or pull it back into place. Often the joints of the foot or ankle remain misaligned for years after an initial injury, causing pain and weakness or even abnormal weight-bearing while walking. This is also the reason an ankle may be re-injured repeatedly. If it is not aligned properly it turns easily. Often "weak ankles" are the result of previous injuries.

The most common injuries to the ankle involve twisting or "turning" them, usually rolling over onto the outside of the ankle, but occasionally to the inner side. A more serious injury can result from catching the toe and falling forward. Misalignments of the smaller bones of the foot can result from someone stepping on the top of the foot, by the foot being run over by wheels of a vehicle, even by faulty footwear.

Misalignments of the bones of the ankle and foot can be corrected. If you suffer from pain in those areas, consult your chiropractor to determine if the pain is due to joint fixations and if so, the best programme for correcting them.

Foot pain also may have its origin in spinal imbalances. There are two mechanisms for this: one biomechanical, and one neurological.

If the pelvis or the spine are misaligned, there is uneven weight distribution from one leg to the other and often the weight bearing at the foot itself is very unbalanced. In these cases, a look at the soles of a broken-in pair of shoes will tell the story. The heel may be worn more on one side of the foot than the other. This can indicate misalignment and lead to increased wear on the joints of the foot and stress and strain on the band of tissue along the sole of the foot, called the plantar fascia. The result may be plantar fascitis or heel spurs. Correction of the spinal imbalance along with mobilization of the foot can relieve foot pain in many such cases.

If a spinal problem causes irritation of spinal nerves, there can be a resulting pain anywhere along the distribution of that nerve. Thus, it is possible to have foot pain from a back problem without even an awareness of pain or discomfort in the back itself!

If you suffer from foot or ankle pain, consult your chiropractor to determine whether the cause may be in faulty joint movement in the spine, the leg or the foot. 

Dr. Karin Mattern

6543 Portsmouth Rd.

Nanaimo, BC

V9T 1C4

250-933-3443

drkarin@shaw.ca

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