A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to volunteer with the medical support crew at the Susan Komen 3 day breast cancer walk right here in San Francisco. The energy that 1,400 people with a common goal can generate is amazing- and necessary, as walking 20 miles in a day, 3 days in a row is taxing! Not surprisingly, one of the main problems we worked on in the sports medicine tent was foot pain. We treated several hundred people with Plantar Fascitis, tendonitis, midfoot sprains and ankle sprains as well as knee, hip and lower back pain.Our feet alone contain over one quarter of all the bones in the body: there are 26 bones and 20 muscles in each foot. Feet have the complicated and important job of being flexible enough to accommodate nearly any surface they are placed on, while also providing enough rigidity to propel our body along and change direction. Muscles and joints are strained, not just from walking but simply from being on the feet for the amount of time it takes to walk 20 miles. Painful feet can be very debilitating and limping can aggravate conditions in other parts of the body, such as knee, hip and lower back.Most of us develop foot issues from far less daily mileage than the 3-day walkers. Foot problems can be acute but more often they develop slowly, building up irritation one layer at a time. In the example of Plantar Fascitis multiple factors can be involved; flat feet, an working history that involves prolonged standing (think cashier, school teacher etc), poor footwear, dietary factors. A sudden increase in physical activity can then produce a dramatic amount of pain and inability to engage in regular daily activities. At our office, we recently started to focus on chiropractic and myofascial approaches to common foot problems, such as Bunions, Plantar Fascitis, forefoot pain. Chiropractic and myofascial release work very well together because joint problems and muscle/tendon/ligament issues are so intertwined. Tight muscles in the feet prevent the joints from moving freely and foot joints that are misaligned or stuck cause reflex muscle tightening, creating a vicious cycle. By addressing both these issues, we improve chronic and acute foot issues and help our patients get back to their exercise routines and their daily lives. We are happy to report that a many more 3-day walkers reached their goal!Interested in getting involved? Check the “Susan Komen for the Cure” website: ww5.komen.org
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