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Foot Health 101: How your Chiropractor Can Aid in Optimal Foot Health

By Dr. Molly Casey

Foot Health

It is a fact that is often overlooked by most people, but the entire weight of your body rests on your feet, balanced within the distance from heel to toe. Important? You better believe it. That’s why you must take care of your feet, because they’re going to be stressed every day of your life.

Foot Anatomy

The foot is referenced in three sections: the hindfoot, the midfoot, and the forefoot. The hindfoot consists of what you think of when you think of the heel -- the two bones are the calcaneus and the talus.

The hindfoot is most closely related to the ankle joint and lower bones of the leg.

The midfoot is made up of five tarsal bones called the navicular, the cuboid, and three cuneiform bones.

The front foot consists of metatarsal bones, phalanges (toes), and sesamoid bones. The midfoot connects the hindfoot (heel) to the forefoot (long bones in the middle, the ball of the foot, and toes). There are 26 bones in each foot.

Foot Motion

Joints are where two bones meet and motion occurs. In addition to the 26 bones, there are 30 joints in each foot.

The foot and the ankle are closely related in location and, as a result, work together for optimal motion. It can be difficult to separate them in discussions because they affect each other so much. There are four main motions of the ankle and foot, there are two main motions of the foot, and there are multiple motions of the cuneiforms, metatarsals and phalanges.

For the purpose of this article, the two main motions of the foot are pronation and supination. Pronation and supination are motions that occur when the foot strikes the ground; these motions disperse force and distribute the impact of the landing. Pronation refers to the natural movement of the foot rolling inward. Supination occurs when the weight of the body is placed on the outside edges of the foot during the strike. Proper motion of the foot relies on proper balance and timing of pronation and supination.

Tips For Healthy Feet

Feet are important to pay attention to and give some love. Healthy feet have full range of motion (and your chiropractor can assess this for you). Having your chiropractor evaluate your feet and manipulate any of its 30 joints, as necessary, is a wise choice for optimal foot health. You can also ask your chiropractor for foot stretches, particularly for the muscles of the bottom of the foot, and calf muscles. Balance exercises that develop the stability of the ankle joint promote overall health of the foot. Again your chiropractor can help you identify the best proprioceptive exercises for you and your feet.

Proper shoes and arch support are important for foot health. The arch of the foot is in the middle of the bottom of the foot. It is higher on some people than others. Often, people don’t need any more support than what a regular shoe offers. People who have very high arches can suffer pain and dysfunction in motion if their shoes don’t have additional support. Chiropractors have the knowledge and ability to fit you for medical orthotics that can assist with proper arch support and foot motion, though not all do.

Pay attention to the muscles of the feet, its skin, and the nails of the toes. Have a massage therapist spend a few more minutes on those feet in your next massage. Get a pedicure where they address the skin, exfoliate it, and work on the muscles. Clip your toenails regularly so your feet are comfortable in your shoes regardless of activity; clip more frequently if you do a lot of exercising.

All structures of the body are important. The feet are used nearly all day, every day. It is critical to give them love and attention, and not overlook the care for them. Love your feet because they’ll likely love you back even more.

The last thing you want is for your feet to walk out on you.

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