How to Treat Chronic Pain at Its Source: The Foot

How to Treat Chronic Pain at Its Source: The Foot

It's important for chronic pain-sufferers to understand the relationship between theier lower-body pain and their feet....

Know the warning signs. And be sure to check out our 'foot-health checklist' included at the end of this post...

Nearly 8/10 Americans have experienced foot pain in their lifetimes. Furthermore those who suffer from chronic foot pain are significantly more likely to have pain in other parts of their body, 

This is according to a recent scientific survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).

Problems with the foot or ankle resulting in compromised posture, like Plantar fasciitis, can lead to chronic heel pain and/or arch pain. Foot problems cause individuals to compensate for how they carry themselves, accounting for poor posture and irregular walking patterns.

Common causes of foot pain typically stem from injury, overuse, or conditions causing inflammation in the bones, ligaments or tendons. Arthritis is one common cause of foot pain. However, nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy may also result in intense burning sensation, numbness or tingling pain.

This typically leads to other forms of chronic pain: knee, hip, back, or elsewhere...

There are a number of conditions related with these asymmetries that you should be aware of....

If you've experienced throbbing pain on your knee cap, you may be suffering from 'Runners Knee'. A previous injury, misaligned kneecap, weak thigh muscle, or soft knee cartilage can make your knees more vulnerable. An  irregular walking pattern, especially due to a previous foot injury, can put you at higher risk!
But don't be fooled by the name. This condition doesn't only affect runners. Your foot's impact on the ground presses the kneecap into the femur bone, causing pain and inflammation.

Bursitis, one of the primary causes of hip pain, is caused by an inflammation of the bursa: fluid-filled sacs which act as cushions between bones and soft tissues. This pain is felt on the outside of your hip, whereas arthritis is typically felt on the inner hip near you groin. 

Active adults who regularly walk, run, or cycle are at risk for Bursitis - especially those with previous foot or knee injuries. In these individuals, the iliotibial band (ITB), a long piece of connective tissue called which runs from the hip to the knee, becomes tight from overuse and causes Bursitis over time. 

We may not think about it very often. But it's truly remarkable. How much we rely on our feet, that is....

The spinal column, lumbar and pelvis all rely on the feet to stand, walk and run. That's why feet and leg problems or misalignments will transmit stress from the lower extremities into these areas. This pain can interfere with spinal function, especially prevalent in patients with lower back pain. 

Take a look at these next few questions. can gain insight into the cause(s) of their back pains. When the back acts up, look at the feet. (Originally from an article at Chiropractic Economics,

    1. Do you stand or walk on hard surfaces for more than four hours a day?

    2. Do you participate regularly in any physical sport (e.g., basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, or running)?

    3. Are you age 40 or older?

    4. Have you ever had a prior injury to your knee, back, or neck?

    5. Do your shoes wear unevenly?

    6. Do you have joint pain while standing, walking, or running?

    7. Is one of your legs shorter than the other?

    8. Do you have knock-knees or bowlegs?

    9. Do you have any obvious foot problems (bunions, corns, flat feet, etc.)?

    10. Do your feet “toe out” when you’re walking?

    If you answered 'yes' to just a few of these questions, we recommend you consult with your physician! You might want to consider investing in a pair of custom orthotics or wearing compression socks as a part of your daily routine! 

    Remember. When your back pain starts to flair up, look at your feet! 

    Not all chronic lower-body pain starts with the feet. But many podiatrists agree that much of your chronic pain should be addressed at the source: the foot!

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