Chronic Pain and Foot Imbalance
Chronic pain in the lower back or hips is all too common. It is an issue that we address daily in the office and often is a result of dysfunction in the vertebra of the lumbar spine or sacroiliac joints. However, at times it is not that simple to diagnose. Chronic pain that has not responded to other treatments or always seems to return without a identifiable injury often requires digging a little deeper to find the source.
When things don't seem to be adding up and we have not made an improvement in a persons low back pain it is time to take a step back and look for other causes. One of the more common sources of pain actually starts in the foot. A condition called overpronation, which is where the foot rolls inward too far, can often be the originating cause. When the foot over pronates or rolls in too much it causes the foot to flatten and become widen. What you would usually call "flat feet." The problem with overpronation is that with time the bones in the feet can misalign causing them to become stuck in this position. This Position of the foot allows the lower leg to rotate inward which then translates to twisting stress placed on the pelvis. The pelvis is the base of the spine so if it gets twisted out of alignment it can affect the rest of the spine. The body is really good at compensating for certain functional changes in the anatomical chain. However, eventually the soft tissue, joints and bones will become damages by these micro traumas. Pain and discomfort in the foot, knee, hips or low back will eventually be the result of overpronation in the foot.
So what can be done once a foot has dropped? I usually start by addressing the damage that has been done to the soft tissue. I will work on releasing any scar tissue or adhesions in the intrinsic muscles of the foot and the muscles in the lower leg that go to the foot. This helps get the strength back in the leg and foot to help support the arch in the foot. At the same time I check and adjust the necessary bones in the foot that have moved out of place. Lastly, I give a specific plan of strengthening exercises that help prevents the foot from dropping again. At times it may be necessary to fit the person with custom made supportive orthotics that prevent the foot from dropping. If you or someone you love suffers from chronic pain and you think overpronation may be the culprit don't hesitate to call us today to discus how we might be able to help!
-Dr. Ben Heun, D.C.
Mark Charrette, DC "A Simple Exam Protocol to Assess Lower-Extremity Imbalance" Dynamic Chiropractic – July 15, 2015, Vol. 33, Issue 14