According to a survey of 1,000 people released last year by the American Podiatric Medical Association, more than three-quarters of Americans (77 percent) reported some type of foot pain. Fifty percent of those surveyed said foot pain has restricted activities such as exercising or walking, which jumped to 83 percent for those who reported chronic foot issues. Although foot problems are most common for older people, they can also occur for younger patients in their 20s and 30s.
Given the large number of people who have foot pain, it should not be surprising that Dr. Nathen Horst sees many of these patients in his practice. Such patients often have tried standard treatment, including pain killers, splinting, taping and cortisone injections, all to no avail. Below are some of the more common types of foot pain.
One of the most common foot problems is plantar fasciitis. It occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the ball of the foot to the heel, becomes inflamed and painful. The usual telltale sign is if walking is painful for the first few steps in the morning or after prolonged sitting. Dr. Horst uses a specific technique, known as IASTM, to loosen the plantar fascia. Patients should also massage the foot, particularly after waking or sitting for an extended time. Rolling the foot back and forth over a tennis ball placed on the ground will also stretch out the tissue. For added relief, a small water bottle, filled with water and then frozen, can also be used.
This painful condition of the Achilles tendon (connecting the muscles of the back of the calf to the heel) is often seen among runners. The condition occurs from overuse, particularly if the athlete has suddenly upped the intensity of exercise without properly stretching out beforehand. Treatment usually involves stretching exercises (particularly before exercising) and shoe orthotics to go inside running shoes. Dr. Horst uses a technique called Active Release Technique, which is particularly well suited to athletes. It will help release the tight Achilles tendon, as well as help break up any scar tissue that may have formed due to injury from the tendonitis.
This condition occurs when the entire foot touches the ground when standing up. A completely flat footprint, rather than the usual kidney shaped one, is the telltale sign for this condition. Flat feet can often throw off the balance of the foot, which can in turn affect the knees and hips, making it painful to walk or stand. In addition to stretching exercises and shoe inserts, Dr. Horst may also perform chiropractic adjustments to the feet, ankles, and knees in order to ease them back into their correct alignment.
Unfortunately, foot pain can often set off a vicious cycle. While walking and exercise help reduce foot pain by using the muscles and tendons of the feet, patients may not be so inclined to walk or exercise until the pain has lessened. This is when chiropractic care can really help patients get back on their feet.