Do you wake up with painful feet each morning or fall frequently due to wobbly ankles? Chiropractic care can help resolve many conditions, including some you may not be aware of, like foot and ankle issues. This can include anything from plantar fasciitis to achilles tendinopathy, to chronic ankle sprains. Did you know that your foot and ankle are both part of a larger kinetic chain? For example, your plantar fascia which covers the bottom of your foot, has a fascial connection in your heel to the achilles tendon. Similarly, the achilles tendon connects the muscles of your calf into your heel. You can see by these connections how having tight calf muscles can exacerbate both achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis. These kinetic chains continue much further and connect everything from your toes to your hips and beyond.
An example of this can be seen in a study published in Physical Therapy in Sport in 2009. The study examined 105 patients, 68 women and 37 men, and showed that patients with hamstring tightness were about 8.7 times more likely to experience plantar fasciitis. The hamstrings connect the pelvis to the knee and connect via fascia to the calf muscles, which as we already described above, connect to the structures of the foot. While all of these chains are connected through muscles and fascia, they also connect via the skeletal system. Muscles can’t do anything on their own, much of their input comes from the joints they surround sending messages to the brain. If a joint is not moving correctly, this creates incorrect signals that tell the muscles to tighten up or turn off. If the hip joint is stuck or moving improperly, this can cause the glutes to turn off, cascading into tight hamstrings to make up for the weak glutes, which then follows the path we previously mentioned. Similarly, if an ankle joint is stuck, it can follow the same path in the opposite direction. Chiropractic care, especially that which includes Active Release Technique and Graston technique to treat the musculature, and a therapeutic exercise program, can be the missing link you need to correct these conditions!
Dysfunction and incorrect mechanics when walking and living daily life can also cause what we know as chronic ankle instability, or CAI. Have you ever known someone that seems to roll their ankle constantly? This may be due to altered function in their kinetic chain. Foot and Ankle Specialist published a study in 2020 showing that a previous ankle sprain is the biggest predictor of future ankle injury. This is due to an ankle sprain causing further damage to the signals headed to the brain and perpetuating any muscles that were already dysfunctional. Chiropractic care can ensure the joints within both the foot, ankle, and beyond are moving effectively, and also treat the surrounding tissues so that you can start retraining your ankle to live life normally! By stopping the cycle, you can remove the dysfunction and resolve the issue for good.
Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, and CAI are just a few of the disorders of the foot and ankle that Chiropractic care can help treat. By looking globally throughout the body for areas of dysfunction, we can treat the cause and not the symptoms, and ensure permanent changes and healing are made.
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