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Do Osteopaths Help With Foot Pain?

Osteopaths Treat Foot Pain


Did you know that Osteopaths can help find the cause of foot pain? Feet are our foundation. Did you know that 30% of our body’s awareness of space come from our feet? Our feet are responsible for the vertical balance of our body, continuous weight-bearing in standing and walking and responsible for our body’s ability to move. When our feet are in pain, not only do we struggle to walk around, but it can also have a huge impact on the rest of your body.

Causes of Foot Pain

So, what causes foot pain? Here are some common causes of pain in the feet or ankles that we see and treat at the clinic are:

  • Planter-fasciitis
  • Achilles Heel or Achilles Tendinopathy
  • Ankle Sprains
  • Gout
  • Shin Splints

Osteopaths and Your Feet

With this in mind, an Osteopathic assessment of the foot should not be overlooked as this can have significant implications on the function of the entire body. Osteopaths consider the lines of gravity (anterior and posterior lines create the resultant central line of gravity), the myofascial chain, and if it is primarily a “foot issue” (ascending lesion of the foot that creates dysfunction elsewhere in the body), or a primary issue elsewhere that creates a descending lesion where the foot must compensate.

The curves of the spine, along with the arches of the foot are important for shock absorption. In the presence of a lesion or rigidity of the arches of the foot, there will be a reduction in the flexibility of the spinal curves through the synergy of the springs and vice versa. This may present as back pain, neck pain, stiffness or may influence the digestive system. Our sympathetic nervous system for most of the digestive organs is found at the thoracic levels T5-T9. In the foot, it may present as plantar fasciitis, general foot pain, changes in gait or shin splints. 

Compensation

Further up the chain, there is also a relationship between the foot and cranial sphere:

  • Cubo-navicular joint with the sphenobasilar symphesis (SBS) of the cranium.
  • Tarsal sinus and vestibular system
  • Talus and atlas (first cervical vertebrae C1)
  • Lines of gravity
  • Diaphragms (tentorium of the SBS and plantar fascia)

A dysfunction between the foot and cranial sphere may present with neck pain, stiffness, headaches, changes in posture and of course poor proprioception.

The fibula is found in on the lateral side of the lower leg. In contrast to the tibia, which is much stronger for weight-bearing, the fibula is adaptive to external forces. It can adjust, compensate, stabilize, balance and regulate the tensions of the lower extremity. The fibula has a direct relationship through the fascial system from the foot to the ilium (pelvis). Because of this, a lesion found in the fibula may present as pain or dysfunction in the ankle/foot, knee, hip joint or pelvis.

Our bodies are incredible when compensating around these changes or dysfunctions. However, we can only sustain this for so long until we are no longer able to compensate further.  Osteopathy looks past the area of pain to identify the cause rather than chasing symptoms! Start with the feet!

Jackie Caione- D.O.M.P, CAT (C)
Osteopathic Manual Therapist

To learn more about how Osteopathic Manual Therapy can help with your feet, click herehttp://prairietherapy.ca/osteopathic-therapy-calgary/

Jacinda