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Back Pain

A study published in the professional journal Rheumatology has shown again that problems with foot function are associated with lower back pain. The study was part of a large study in Framingham during 2002-2005 which involved 1,930 people. Participants were identified as having either low arches (flat feet), high arches or normal arches. Their foot function was studied while moving to identifying them as pronators (tendency of the foot to excessively roll-in and flatten while while walking), supinators (opposite of pronators), or normal functioning feet. This was done using pressure sensor technology on their feet as they walked, providing insight about how the feet are functioning while walking.

What they concluded from the study was that female participants who pronated excessively during walking also had a greater incidence of low back pain. It wasn't exactly clear why the connection between back pain and foot function was more prevalent in women in this particular study.

Lower back pain is a complex problem which has a variety of possible causes. Some back pain sufferers may find improvement by identifying and addressing foot problems, especially flat feet. A Podiatrist can help identify any problems with foot function, for example excess pronation, which the study found to be linked to lower back pain in woman. The next step is addressing these problems, which will involve orthotics to address the foot function.

Orthotics are shoe inserts that support the foot's arch and can help decrease excess pronation while reducing stress on the feet. Some arch supports or orthotics maybe found in pharmacies or sports stores or online. They range from flimsy over-the-counter orthotics, offering hardly any support to high quality brands that offer good support and last longer than a few weeks.

Custom-made orthotics from a Podiatrist generally offer the most effective support, can be customized to address specific foot problems, and last several years.


Heel Pain, Plantar Fasciitis

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Posted by john under Health

Plantar Fasciitis, Heel pain is the common foot problem Podiatrists see.  Plantar Fasciitis can occur when a person increases their levels of physical activity or when the heel's fat pad becomes thinner, providing less protection to the foot.  It is also common from the time we reach our mid-late thirties are we start to lose some of the natural stretch in our tendons.

The Plantar Fascia (which is a tendon type structure) runs under the arch all our body weight rest on it whenever we stand. The combination of losing tendon stretch and years of walking makes Plantar Fasciitis a very common foot problem.

We have treated thousands of people with Plantar Fasciitis in our clinics over the past 17 years.  Here is what we found works;

  1. Morning massage, before standing, using Deep Heat.  This helps the fascia warm up and reduces micro tearing of the fascia upon weight bearing.
  2. Orthotics to reduce the strain on the Plantar Fascia.  There are specific orthotics that will do this and of course they need to be right for your foot as every foot is different.  There may even be an underlying foot function you have that is causing increased strain on the Plantar Fascia.  A Podiatrist has the skills to identify if this is the case.
  3. Afternoon massage, using Antiflam or Arnica, to reduce any inflammation that has built up during the day.
  4. Stretch the Plantar Fascia and Achilles tendon through the day.
  5. Strengthen the muscles within the foot that help to support the function of the Plantar Fascia.  There are specific exercise which will achieve this, a Foot Mechanics Podiatrist has been trained to demonstrate these exercise for you.
  6. Compression using the FS6 foot compression sleeve.  This product is a new technology which applies compression to the Plantar Fascia while you go about your day and while your sleeping.

Plantar Fasciitis will still take a few weeks to settle (sometimes a few months).  If needed there are further treatments available such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory tablets, serial strapping, cortisone injection and surgery.  As you can see these are much more invasive, fortunately we seldom have to progress people to these treatment options.

If you have Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Pain, and want to make contact with us to get it resolved you can click here.  We look forward to helping you.