The Pain & Injury Doctor ONLINE Newsletter

Here is your latest pain relief tip. If it doesn’t apply to you, still take note because life is full of surprises. If you know someone who is dealing with this type of pain, please forward this email to that person– thanks!

How Your Feet Can Make You Feel Achey and “Off”

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When a new skyscraper is being constructed, most of the work goes into laying down the foundation.   Tons of concrete are poured to form a sturdy foundation and reinforced pilings are driven deep into the earth to stabilize it.  Once that’s accomplished, the rest is easy.

The foundation of any standing structure, including the human body, must be strong and resilient in order for it to function properly, and last.

The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons. The 52 bones in both feet make up about 25 percent of all the bones in your body.   It turns out that nature, in all its wisdom also puts a lot of emphasis on the human body’s foundation.

The simple act of walking (your “gait”) requires your foot to do several things– bend at the ankle, absorb the shock of contact with the ground, dissipate the weight of your body evenly and pull the body forward.  Each of these actions involve unique movements of those 52 bones and all those joints and ligaments.

So, if any particular foot joint is locked or misaligned; or a ligament has lost its tightness it forces other parts of your body to compensate in order to maintain gait.  Your brain notices the deficiency and commands other body parts to put in more work for walking (mostly leg, pelvic and back muscles), and most of the time you are unaware of this happening, but you do eventually:   the accumulation of this sub-optimal walking pattern manifests as aches and pain in your feet, knees, back and even neck.

 Recommended Home Therapy Products Covered in Today’s Newsletter:

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Flat feet and/or “fallen arches” is the most common type of foot problem.    With this, the inner border of the foot “rolls” inwards during mid-stance— the point in gait when the foot is flat on the floor and is bearing the most weight of the body.  This can strain the inner ankle joint and inner knee, and may even cause hip or back pain.

Painful bunions can subconsciously cause you to alter your gait to avoid pain.  Bunions occur when the big toe bends too much outwards towards the other toes, pushing the first metatarsal-phalangeal joint outwards forming a bony bump that is easily irritated when wearing shoes.

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, the broad ligament underneath the foot that is responsible for maintaining your arch.  It usually occurs at the inner side of the heel and can be quite painful.  Heel spurs, a small outcropping of bone, often occur with plantar fasciitis.

Hammer toes involve excessive contracture of the plantar flexion tendons underneath the foot causing the middle toes to bunch up.  Calluses usually form on those toes due to their angled joints.

A Morton’s Neuroma is a small, tender area of thickening tissue around a nerve that passes between the tarsal bones of the foot; usually the third and fourth.   It feels like a small stone caught in your shoe.  If you wear high heels you increase your chances of getting one.

All of the above foot conditions can cause you to alter your gait to avoid pain, and therefore have the potential to cause compensatory strain on joints and muscles of the leg, pelvis and/or spine causing aches and pain.

If you have any of the above conditions, you are opening yourself up to knee, hip or low back pain.   The products below can correct these deficiencies, taking the pressure off your body:

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Corrective Orthotic Insole

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Orthotics put more arch into your foot.  Slip them into your shoes (make sure to get the right size).   When you put your foot into your shoe, you will immediately feel the difference.  It’s as if your weary feet say “wow!” to the new-found support.

More Information

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Elgin Archxerciser Foot Strengthening Device

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Did you know that by living in a civilized society where wearing shoes and walking on smooth, flat floors and sidewalks is the norm, it actually weakens your feet?  Contrast this to pre-historic times when man went barefoot and walked on bumpy, uneven earth.  Your toes are designed to “grip” the earth below you; that’s why you have muscles that can curl your toes.  But those muscles are not adequately exercised because your poor feet are “immobilized” in shoes all day.   And when you walk barefoot its usually on a smooth, flat surface, so no toe curling is required.  This causes atrophy of the small, intrinsic ligaments and muscles of the foot and may even contribute to fallen arches.

The solution is to exercise your feet.  This  exerciser is a small device you can place at the foot of your sofa or under your desk at work.  Do foot exercises while you watch TV and work to strengthen your feet.  Also, walking barefoot on a bumpy lawn or on dry beach sand is another great way to exercise those feet.  Remember, with stronger feet there is stronger support above– this could help reduce lower back pain.

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Z-Coil Shock Absorbent Shoes-Women

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Z-Coil shoes have a strong spring in the heel that dampens the small but numerous shocks generated from walking and assists the foot in forward motion, reducing strain on the plantar fascia, heels and forefoot. These specialty shoes are great for those who have thinning cartilage in the knees and/or hips as the springs make up for the reduced cushioning capability of degenerated joint cartilage.

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Z-Coil Shock Absorbent Shoes-Men

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This is one of the several men’s models.   There are also casual shoes, clogs and tennis shoe version.

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Bunion Splint

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If you have a bunion, wear this brace at night.  It is designed to gradually reduce bunions over time by gently pressing into it, realigning the big toe with the rest of the toes.

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Bunion Protector

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Placing this clever protector between the first and second toes reduceses the angle of the big toe and thus the size/ prominence of the bunion.  The result is less rubbing and pain from wearing shoes.

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BOTTOM LINE:   If you hope to get rid of pain anywhere in your body that is above your feet, pay attention to your feet.  Your feet are your foundation; mechanical problems in your feet can translate upwards to the knee and further.  If you have a painful foot problem like plantar fasciitis, the “pain avoidance gait” can cause compensatory problems elsewhere or make you feel constantly fatigued from extra muscle exertion.

These are some of the products I recommend to patients who have foot deficiencies. Most patients report good to great results; therefore, you have a very good chance of experiencing the same.  ~Dr. Perez

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NEXT UP: How Do Topical Creams Stop Pain?

PainandInjuryDoctor.com


The information contained in this email and on www.PainandInjuryDoctor.com is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as a medical directive. It is provided as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dan Perez, D.C. Every person is unique, and individual cases of pain are therefore unique. Dr. Perez encourages readers of PainandInjuryDoctor.com to use available sources of information to help them make a more educated and informed decision regarding their health, in partnership with one or more qualified health care professionals.

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