Low Back Pain and The Feet

If you want to build any structure, a strong foundation is one of the key components. The human body is no different. Alignment of the bones in the feet can influence the functional stability of the rest of the body! Each foot contains 26 bones. It takes 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and numerous tendons to hold the bones in place and to allow for proper movement. As a musculoskeletal specialist, your South Elgin chiropractor Dr Tim Schening, is well-aware of the amount of brain-body coordination needed to keep these structures working properly.

Syndromes Related to Your Feet The following is a list of common conditions that are related to your feet, plus recommended solutions from your chiropractor.

Plantar Fasciitis – a painful conditioninvolving inflammation of the soft tissue in the arch of the foot. This condition is usually related to overuse or fallingarches.Icing and rest help to decrease pain, and muscle or joint manipulation can help restore proper function. Orthotic shoe inserts may also help provide structural support and reduce strain.1

Shin Pain – often caused by strain of the posterior and anterior tibialis muscles. These two muscles help give the arch of your foot mechanical support during walking or running. With increased stress due to repetitive use or falling arches, strain on the tendons of these muscles can cause the muscles to pull away from their bony attachments on the shin. This can cause periostitis, better known as shin splints. Improper footwear, combined with increased physical activity, is often the culprit. Rest, ice, muscle manipulation and orthotic inserts can help with this condition.2

Iliotibial Tract Syndrome (IT band syndrome) – pain located on the lateral side of the knee, thigh and hip, related to an inflammation of the tendon of the TFL muscle as it crosses the knee. This is one of the most common leg/hip syndromes found in runners, and it can be related to instability of the foot or pelvic misalignment. It is very often related to over-pronation of the foot, whereby the ankle joint turns inward – usually associated with falling arches. Chiropractic adjustments for the pelvis, foot and knee joints may help, as well as muscle manipulation, reduced exercise, and orthotic inserts to correct for the over-pronation.

Stress fractures – represent incomplete fractures (cracks) in any bone that is under an increased mechanical load. This condition is usually related to a structural imbalance, which creates an abnormal distribution of stress and strain. Rest is often the only treatment that helps mend this problem. Your chiropractor should also check the movement and alignmentof the feet and/or pelvis to help identify potential causes for the abnormal stress patterns.

Nerve Pain/Sciatica – radiating pain from nerve irritation/inflammation can be felt in the feet. Numbness, tingling, burning or aching pain can be a sign of lumbar nerve irritation. Disc herniation is a common cause of nerve root irritation. Chiropractic adjustments are often used to help balance the mechanical causes of disc herniations.

Pelvic Conditions – with respect to the kinetic chain, imbalances in foot bio-mechanics can lead to imbalances in pelvic mechanics. Restrictions or instability in the joints of the feet can lead to recurring symptoms in your pelvis and lower back.3 Common painful syndromes in the pelvis may include SI joint dysfunction, piriformis syndrome, and lumbar facet joint irritation. If your chiropractic adjustments are not holding as long as you’d like, you should have your chiropractor check your feet. Bouts of low back and pelvic pain that follow increased periods of walking, running or climbing may be pointing to the mechanical instability of your body’s foundation.

How to Take Care of Your Feet There are several things you can do to keep your feet healthy.Avoid activities that cause recurring pain in your feet, knees or hips.Wear appropriate, properly-fitting athletic shoes when you exercise. It is recommended you replace your athletic shoes at least once per year if you exercise at least once a week. Orthotic inserts, when required, can provide customized support for your feet in every shoe that you wear. Be sure to have Dr Schening check the mechanical movement patterns of your feet, knees and hips when walking or running. A routine gait analysis can pick up minor imbalances before they create major problems.Active lifestyles are also recommended to stay healthy. The best form of general exercise is walking. A gentle weight-bearing exercise like walking is known to help improve circulation, contribute to weight control and promote overall well being. Be sure to have your feet checked by  chiropractor on a regular basis to ensure that they continue to take you where you want to go in a pain-free way.

References and Sources:1. Karl B. Landorf, Anne-Maree Keenan, and Robert D. Herbert Effectiveness of Different Types of Foot Orthoses for the Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 2004 94: 542-549.2. Nawoczenski DA, Ludewig PM: Electromyographic effects of foot orthotics on selected lower extremity muscles during running. Arch Phys Med Rehab, 80:540-544, 1999.3. Dananberg HJ, Guiliano M: Chronic low-back pain and its response to custom-made foot orthoses.Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association 1999; 89(3): 109-117.

South Elgin Chiropractor, Golfer’s Best Friend

If they weren’t a necessary component
of a popular sport, the movements
involved with a golf swing would be
banned by most chiropractors. The
repetitive, one-sided nature of the golf
swing makes it a common cause for
back injuries. They’re several reasons
why the golf swing is so problematic
for the body. First, it requires great
flexibility, which most people lack.
Second, it requires good posture, which
is also uncommon. Third, the power
move in golf is always one-sided,
leading to muscle and joint imbalances.
Flexibility for Power
According to Butch Harmon, one of
the foremost authorities on the golf
swing, in order for golfers to generate
more power and more distance, they
are coached to “feel their arms staying
in front of the body as they turn back.”1
Todd Anderson, a Golf Digest teaching
professional, goes into more detail by
suggesting that a proper backswing
should see “the shoulders starting
parallel to the target line and turning 90
degrees, the hips turning to 45 degrees,
and the knees turning to 22 degrees.” 2
This means the backswing will generate
a lot of spinal twist and loading.

Compounding this amount of torque
with near-maximum acceleration in the
downswing is a recipe for disaster.
Repeating this move 50-70 times per
round makes it difficult to stay injury
free over the course of your golfing
life.
This kind of movement requires
flexibility not only in the spine, but also
in the shoulders and hips. To ensure
that you have the kind of flexibility that
allows you to take a proper golf swing,
have your chiropractor check the range
of motion of these joints. If you have
any tightness in these areas, your
chiropractor can perform specific
adjustments to help these joints move
better and may suggest stretches to help
keep them moving properly.

Good Posture for the
Set Up
When a golf pro is asked to create a
good, repeatable golf swing, one of his
first tasks is to establish a proper set up.
This is the golfer’s starting position
when addressing the ball. Posture is of
utmost importance here. Maintaining
natural curves throughout the spine
with good posture ensures that maximum
rotation will be achievable in both
the backswing and the follow through.
To illustrate this point, sit on a bench
and allow your body to slouch. Cross
your arms, placing your hands on
opposite shoulders. Then, try to rotate
fully to one side, then the other. Ask
someone to observe how far you can
go. Try again, but this time start by
sitting upright first. Notice how much
further your spine can rotate when you
start with good spinal posture.3
Ask your South Elgin chiropractor Dr Schening, if your lower
back has the proper spinal curve when
standing normally and when demonstrating
a set-up position for the golf
swing. If you suffer from restrictions
and displacements in your body, these
could be preventing you from achieving
normal postural positions. And it
could be taking 10, 20 or 30 yards off
your best drives! See how much easier
it is to swing the golf club after your
chiropractor corrects this problem.

One-Sided Sport
Requires Special
Attention
The amount of effort exerted by most
amateur golfers when driving a golf
ball has been estimated at 90 percent of
their peak muscular activity. This level
of exertion has been compared to those
used in sports like football, hockey and
martial arts.3 This amount of physical
effort, combined with the one-sided
nature of the swing, requires a lot of
special attention. If a person is not
careful, over-exertion can easily lead to
stress and strain.
Chiropractic treatments by Dr Schening are very
effective at re-establishing proper
biomechanics in and around every joint
of the body. However, maintaining
proper function remains the patient’s
responsibility. Preparation for golf
should include an adequate warm-up,
proper stretching, and a lot of core
stabilization training. It’s no wonder
that many of the PGA professionals
have trainers and chiropractors join
them when they go on tour. Make sure
to tell your South Elgin chiropractor that you are a
golfer so particular attention will be
given to the areas of the body to
maximize your golf swing.

References and Sources:
1. Anderson T. Power – Load it
and let it go.
Golf Digest 2010; 61(1): 68-71.
2. Harmon B. Nick Watney’s power
pointers: How he became a great
driver – you can, too.
Golf Digest 2010; 61(2): 68-71.
3. Blanchard J. & Finkel L.
Chiropractic and Golf: A therapeutic
treatment and prevention
program.
Online:
http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com
/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=1833