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  • Writer's pictureJohn K Maltby II, D.C.

Your Base

Lateral Foor X-Ray
Lateral Foot X-Ray

Has anyone ever checked your feet for misalignments? This is not an uncommon question I ask people when the come into my office. The answer is usually a confused no. Next, I ask them to take off their shoes and walk up and down the hall for me. I can almost instantly tell from how someone’s feet hit the ground that there is a problem.

The human body has 206 bones in total. The foot has 26 of them, and we have two feet. That means that there are 52 bones at our base, or to say it another way; ¼ of all of our bones are in our feet. Wouldn’t you want to make sure they were all moving properly and in the right place?

Anterior View of the bones of the foot
Anterior View of the bones of the foot

In a previous post I wrote about the importance of the upper cervical spine (the top 2 bones in the neck). I wrote about a patient who came in complaining of how both of their knees were constantly hurting and how it was determined that her C1 (the top bone in the neck) was subluxated, and needed to be adjusted. I adjusted this top bone, the knee pain went away, and has not come back. This can work both ways. The knees should not hurt or go out of alignment. If they do it is usually because of an issue with something else that is not allowing the knees to move freely. The feet are a great place to start looking at when someone has knee issues. There are many times that someone’s knee pain goes away after their feet are adjusted, and sometimes the feet issues have been around for so long that the knees are too far gone. But this is usually due to decades of neglect to get to that point.

Let us talk about foot supports or shoe inserts. Foot supports is a multimillion dollars industry and that is all they are, supports. Think of a foot support as a crutch. They can provide relief and help feet hold an adjustment, and I am not saying that all foot supports are bad. There is a time and a place for them, but if the foot is not properly evaluated and adjusted then it only becomes a crutch, so that the pain will just return when it is not there. There are a few foot support companies that I actually like, but I believe that they should be an after thought once the foot is moving properly.

One of the most common problems people are told they have is flat feet. They are told they are flat footed and are given supports and exercises. These exercises usually consist of some combination of foot stretching and rolling the arch of the foot on a hard ball or a foam roller. I do not understand this approach because a flat foot is an elongated foot, so I feel like stretching will only make the problem worse. After the stretching of the foot, the foot is then placed on top of a support in a shoe, which is commonly a support that is attempting to recreate the missing arch in the foot. So, let us go back to earlier where I said that there are 26 bones in each foot. All of these bones have a purpose and one of them is to create this arch that is in your foot. If they are out of place just a little, bit the foot will not move properly and the arch will collapse. This does not cause pain right away, but if it is neglected over time then it can cause a myriad of problems. Remember, ¼ of all of your bones are in your feet, your base.

Posterior view of the bones of the foot
Posterior view of the bones of the foot

From flat feet can come yet another common issue called plantar fasciitis. Let us define plantar fasciitis first. It is Pin point heel pain that is usually worse in the morning, so that you cannot put any weight on it upon waking up. The common diagnosis is a tight (stretched) Achilles tendon, or tight (stretched) plantar fascia. It is recognized amongst most clinicians that these are the common contributing factors that lead to plantar fasciitis. But if plantar fasciitis is due to a tight (stretched) Achilles tendon or plantar fascia then why is it the advice of most clinicians to stretched these things to reduce the stretched structures?

The less common approach to this common alignment is to adjust the bones in the feet that are out of place. The misaligned bones are pulling the plantar facia and Achilles tendon in the wrong directions and over stretching them is only going to encourage the misaligned bones to stay where they are, in the wrong place.

A-P X-ray of feet
A-P X-ray of feet

Here, at White Pine Chiropractic, I am always seeking to learn more about how the body moves and functions. The feet are fascinating to me if only for the fact they consist of 25% of the bones in the entire body. I have seen many different issues with the feet, knees, hips, and pelvis areas clear up once the feet are moving properly and the bones are in the correct place.

Proper foot mechanics and properly fitting shoes go a long way to providing a solid base for the rest of your body to function in this ever changing environment called life. Could your feet be the issue that has been holding you back all of these years? If you think they are give us a call and we can see if we can help.

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