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Feet First: The Long and Short of a Solid Foundation!

Sep 29, 2023 -- Posted by : Dr.Harcourt

Chiropractic care focuses on treating the whole person and realigning the spine to maximize function and health. This month’s focus is on the feet and how they can have a tremendous effect on the whole body. Let’s take a look!

Did you know that the foot consists of 26 bones, 33 joints (20 of which are freely movable), and more than 100 muscles, tendons (the attachments of muscle to bone), and ligaments (strong, non-elastic structures that hold bones together)? The foot can be subdivided into three regions: the hindfoot (ankle and heel), midfoot (five irregularly shaped bones that form the main arch of the foot), and forefoot (the five toes and metatarsals, or long bones, that connect the toes to the midfoot). Also important is that the foot has not one, but two arches – the medial longitudinal arch (the one we all know about on the inside of the foot) and the metatarsal arch (which runs across the forefoot commonly referred to as “the ball of the foot” at the base of the toes). Both are important, as they absorb shock when we walk and run!

Because we rely on two legs, the position and function of our feet dictate the well-being of everything above them! This implies that any leg length discrepancy, excessive rolling in (pronation) of one foot compared to the other, or a fracture in a leg bone—especially during growth—can result in an uneven foundation for the spine. In such cases, the spine often compensates by adopting a curved posture to counteract the imbalanced pelvis, which can eventually lead to scoliosis. As scoliosis takes hold, the vertebrae, the essential "building blocks" of the spine, tilt and rotate, setting off a cascading effect up the spine. Although our bodies can manage for a time, the ability to compensate eventually falters, and issues emerge. This is why many chiropractors advocate for assessing children for leg length disparities. Research even shows that 32% of 600 military recruits had variations of 1/5th to 3/5th of an inch in leg lengths! A straightforward heel lift placed in a shoe can address this concern.

Apart from leg length imbalances, problems can arise as we progress up the "kinetic chain" of the body (visualize the body as a chain where each joint is a link, starting from the feet). Ankle and/or forefoot pronation, characterized by the inward rolling of the foot, can disrupt the chain. When pronation occurs, the foot often loses its medial arch, leading to an ankle that rolls inward. Subsequently, the knee may deviate inward as the hip shifts outward, destabilizing the pelvis. Ankle pronation may manifest on one or both sides and is frequently uneven, contributing to an imbalance between both sides. Picture a card table with partially folded legs—the tabletop wobbles and shakes. This is analogous to the effect of ankle/foot pronation on the pelvis, making it unstable and undermining the stability of the spine, akin to a house built on an unsteady foundation.

Low back pain (LBP) will affect up to 85% of all of us at some point in life. There are MANY studies that have reported LBP improvement from using foot orthotics that realign the ankle/foot to stabilize the kinetic chain. Balance is also altered when ankle/foot pronation is present and foot orthotics have been found to have an immediate positive benefit for patients with poor balance. The #1 cause of injuries in the elderly is from falling, which is due in part to the fact that we lose our ability to balance as we age.

So, if you are interested in no longer chasing your tail on the pain gerbil wheel and type in pain management near me or chiropractor near me, you may find Coast Chiropractic Centers with Dr. Timothy Harcourt, me, comes up. 

You may wonder, “Is There a Better Way to Address Actually Fixing the Cause of the Pain?”

Once you have experienced the frustration of simply covering over the pain temporarily, you may be more enlightened to the idea of fixing the problem and then keep it that way. Some around you say one description of such an approach is called wellness care.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22742964/

Call me, Dr. Tim Harcourt, at Coast Chiropractic Centers at (239) 278-3344 or stop by on your day off if we’re near you for a walk in visit and mention this article for an awesome discounted first visit to include history, exam, and adjustment or Class IV high-intensity laser treatment. So if you find yourself experiencing lower back pain while running or doing physical activities.

If you feel like a gerbil on a perpetual pain wheel and you know it is negatively affecting your quality of life and keeping you from enjoying walks at Fort Myers Beach, playing golf, tennis, pickle ball or others, come see us at Coast Chiropractic Centers located on 7270 College Parkway. 

Schedule Your Appointment Here

Coast Chiropractic Centers Map

If you would like to avoid getting back pain in the first place or to take a proactive approach to your health and wellness nearby, our membership program called Club C may be just the thing for you with great cost savings, convenience, and even more importantly, a plan to get your health back and keep it.

Don't let back pain stop you from enjoying the beautiful SWFL!  Dr. Tim Harcourt is here to give you the relief you need. 

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