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A Patient's Guide to Foot and Ankle Pain

At Kleefeld Chiropractic patients frequently seek advice and treatment regarding foot and ankle complaints.  Because the foot and ankle serves as the foundation, shock absorber and propulsion engine for the human frame, it is a routine part of a spinal examination. 

The foot and ankle contain 26 bones (one quarter of the bones in the human body).  There are 33 joints and over 100 muscles tendons and ligaments.  The foot is complex to say the least and it is easy to see that any structural flaw or malfunction can lead to pain and disability.

Examination

After history taking Dr. Kleefeld recommends that an examination of the foot and ankle includes an inspection for any swelling, deformity or redness.  Joint range of motion is then tested for any limitation and reproduction of pain.  Most importantly, the muscles and ligaments are tested for tenderness, reproduction of pain and limitation.  Because the foot and ankle provide a stable foundation when standing, the foot and ankle should be examined both standing and walking for proper biomechanics.

woman getting her feet checked by chiropractor

Treatment

At Kleefeld Chiropractic treatment is "diagnosis specific" and ranges from simple homecare measures to active treatment with joint mobilization and passive physical therapy modalities to orthopedic referral and surgery. 

  • Fractures do occur and when suspected x-rays and other imaging studies are necessary.  If a fracture or other instability is found orthopedic referral is appropriate.

  • Sprains however are the most common injury and are usually associated with trauma or prolonged standing and walking with poor foot and ankle biomechanics in combination with aging.  Sprains can vary from small and microscopic to a complete tear or rupture.  In summary, treatment includes rest, activity modification, bracing, physical therapy modalities such as ultrasound and interferential current to reduce swelling and pain with a gradual return to normal activities of daily living as symptoms allow.

  • When heel spurs, plantar fasciitis and other biomechanical disorders are found a combination of home therapies, medication management, active treatment as outlined above, and orthotics can be very beneficial.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis is particularly disabling and is best managed by rheumatologist.  Osteoarthritis is much more common and fortunately more amenable to treatment.  This is most commonly found in the middle-aged and elderly.  In addition to conservative therapies including bracing, passive physical therapy modalities, therapeutic exercise and joint mobilization orthopedic referral is sometimes necessary.

Should you require any additional information, contact Dr. Kleefeld today! 

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