Foot injuries and ankle problems are very common… and very painful. What can a chiropractor do to help? What can you do to help yourself? Here are some facts and tips, courtesy of the Virginia Chiropractic Association.
There are 26 major bones in each foot. The bones are held together by ligaments and moved and controlled by tendons that attach muscles to other bones of the foot, ankle, and leg. Sensation (feeling) and movement are controlled by nerves that originate in the lower back (L4, L5, and S1 nerve roots), travel down the sciatic trunk, and become the tibial and common peroneal nerves before branching into local motor and sensory nerves. A rich blood supply feeds all of these tissues.
When you stand, walk, run, or jump, the foot adapts to control the movement and absorb shock. Walking requires adaptation to body weight, and running or jumping requires adaptation to somewhere between 2.51 and 4.62 times body weight. Poor adaptation to those forces can lead to anything from an evening of achy feet, to more serious conditions like plantar fascitis (inflammation of the tissues under the foot), stress fractures in the foot and ankle… even knee and back pain. What happens in the foot translates upwards via the “kinetic chain” — in other words, if your feet hit the ground lightly and with good control, then your knees, hips, and spine will have a gentler “ride.” On the contrary, poor foot and ankle mechanics — or overwhelmed or arthritic feet and ankles — will fail to soften impact, allowing it to transfer jarringly upwards. Read more
Swimming is the best exercise for conditioning the entire body, including the spine. Some precautions need to be taken before you begin. First, diving is potentially dangerous. Always jump in feet first the first time, to be certain of the depth of the water. Diving head first into shallow water can be devastating to the neck vertebrae, sometimes causing fractures and permanent injury. Second, you must be careful not to exceed you physical limitations by doing too much, too fast, or too far thus straining muscles. Third, swimming in the ocean is exhilarating and fun, but it can be dangerous due to strong currents and high waves. A wave can toss you, flip you, forcibly bend you backwards and thus cause severe sprains and/or fractures. Swimming can be great exercise, but be cautious. If a problem does arise, consult your Chiropractor. They wil help you regain your health quickly and safely.
A sprain is not as simple a condition as some people think. It is an injury related ailment that primarily deals with damage to the ligament. The damage can be mild to severe and dictates the response. Any part of the body can be injured or sprained. For example, you can sprain an ankle or a back with equally devastating results. A sprain is typically more difficult to treat because ligaments respond much more slowly – since ligaments are the tissue that actually binds joints together, it is crucial. Treatment is critical in the early stages of a sprain in order to attain full, or as full as possible recuperation. Treatment will normally consist of ice and/or heat, possibly electric stimulus, and possibly manipulation therapy. Also crucial is the next step – rehabilitation. It is just as important to build up or strengthen the injured joint. Certain exercises will or should be advised in order to strengthen the area. Remember in the event of injury do not wait – check with your Chiropractor to fully evaluate your condiditon.