Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Gateway to Spinal Health: The Feet

By: Jack Martin, D.C., CCSP®

Video: Dr. Martin discusses basic foot mechanics.

The feet are the foundation of your spine and can affect everything up through the body. It is important to have a solid understanding about problems within the feet, as they can impact our health immensely.

The Evaluation Process

As a Chiropractor, I find it necessary to evaluate the foot and ankle for issues that could be impacting the way a person stands and moves. For example, if the medial longitudinal arch is collapsing within one foot, the corresponding knee could begin to buckle, which may lead to hip issues and continued problems working their way up through the kinetic chain of the body. If left unaddressed, the initial foot problem could lead to knee and back issues, shoulder pain and even headaches. 

The first foot bone I evaluate is responsible for good ankle motion — the talus.  The talus is very important in ankle flexion and dorsiflexion. This bone can be restricted in motion for many reasons. However, I find that ankle sprains are a major cause of this restriction. If you have a history of “rolling” your ankle, then a misaligned talus bone is likely the cause. Many folks will even report having an ache or stiff feeling where this bone is located — between the foot and lower leg.  After the talus, I evaluate the navicular (which helps support the medial arch), the cuboid (which helps the lateral arch) and the metatarsal heads (the distal part of the long bones in the foot, where they meet the toes).  

Restoring and Correcting

Correcting misalignments in these bones can help with proper foot motion and can help prevent future foot and back pain. Recovery and restoration are also critical components of the correction process that should be implemented after finding "overuse" injuries such as plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, ankle sprains, or knee and back pain.

Restoring proper motion to the above bone structures is just one part of the correction process. The muscles, tendons (which attach muscle to bone) and ligaments (which attach bone to bone) must be addressed as well.  Improper alignment of the bones of the feet can cause stress on these foot tissues. For example, if you were to trip off a surface and twist your ankle, you may have over stretched these tissues, causing micro and/or complete tears. If the result of the ankle twist was not found to be a fracture or complete tear in the tendons and ligaments, I would then further address these foot soft tissue structures.  Specific rehabilitative exercises such as therapeutic massage and IASTM (an instrument that assists with soft tissue mobilization) are both techniques that can help these tissues heal. When tendons and ligaments are injured, they will first repair themselves with weaker scar tissue. Treatments such as the ones stated above can help increase blood flow to the area and break up scar tissue so that healthier, stronger tissue may take its place.

"Stepping" to Better Health

If you are currently suffering from foot pain, you may likely be turning to Google for remedies. It is always ideal to consult a medical professional for advice, to ensure nothing is made worse by these internet remedies.

Below are some questions to consider when thinking about your foot health:
  • Are you wearing the appropriate shoe for you?
  • Do you have calluses forming at the ball or side of your foot?
  • Do your feet or calves get stiff or tight daily? 

If you are currently suffering from foot or back problems, or if you want to prevent future body issues and achieve true health, a chiropractic evaluation is a great place to start. 

Below are some areas that will be assessed:

  • Posture: Issues with the arches of the feet, high hip or shoulder
  • Balance: Differences between legs
  • Motion: Foot, knee, hip and spinal
  • Muscle: Imbalances and weaknesses

Call to set up a free consultation with Dr. Jack Martin today!

Jack Martin, D.C.
Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician®

Dr. Jack K. Martin received his Bachelor of Sciences degree in Biomedical Sciences at Grand Valley State University. After which he went on to receive his doctorate in Chiropractic at Palmer college of chiropractic in Davenport Iowa. For the past 10 years, he has been practicing in central Ohio treating many issues ranging from headaches, neck/back pain, sciatica, sports injuries and to back issues due to pregnancy. He has had great success working with athletes and expectant mothers. In 2013 Dr. Martin obtained the postgraduate designation of Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP) giving him extensive knowledge in sports-related injuries. The skills of the chiropractic sports physician extend to performance optimization of the athlete’s musculoskeletal and nervous systems. In September 2017, Dr. Martin moved to mid-Michigan to join the iHealth of Michigan team. Dr. Martin and his wife Laura, their 2 daughters Saren and Reese are excited to be back in their home state of Michigan. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family, running, fishing, and basketball.

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