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Foot Posture and Back Pain

Foot Posture and Back Pain

Broadway Burrard Chiropratic

Back pain is present in around 18% of the general population and is highly preventable in most cases. You are at more risk of developing back pain, especially lower back pain, if you are: female, getting older, obese, have a lower socioeconomic status as well as other occupational and psychosocial related factors. Also, other conditions such as: poor posture, spine curvatures (e.g. lumbar lordosis) and leg length differences have also been a suspected risk factor for back pain. Abnormalities in foot posture have been shown to lead to back pain. Your foot posture is the posture that your foot adopts when in a weight bearing position (that is, when you are standing on it). This position can significantly affect your joints and muscles in the leg all the way up to your upper back and neck, putting added stress on the soft tissues surrounding these joints/structures.

Overpronation and oversupination:

Overpronation is when your foot arches fall and we land on the inside of the bottom of our feet, causing the feet and the legs to turn inwards. Even this small difference can change the way we walk and the forces that go through joints and soft tissue structures. This deviation from normal can also alter the position of our knees, hips, backs and shoulders. You don’t tend to feel the effects instantly, but over time, muscles and tendons can become overworked and lead to pain. Oversupination is the opposite and is where the our foot arches are high and we land on the outside of our foot.

You can test what your foot posture is by simply standing straight and getting someone else to assess whether your heel is aligned with your ankle and knee. If your knee and ankle is excessive deviated inwards (medially) compared to your heel then you are an overpronator. However, if you knee and ankle is excessive deviated outwards (laterally) compared to your heel, then you are an oversupinator. Your podiatrist can give you further details.

Treatment:

Footwear

Footwear is an important factor that can contribute to back pain. More specifically, high heeled shoes can lead to back pain, especially when you have a oversupinated or overpronated foot posture. Wearing high heeled shoes puts you in a posture where the “S” curve in your spine becomes more prominent, and puts more pressure on the muscles and joints in your back. As your height is increased with high heeled shoes you are less balanced, and thus need a lower centre of gravity to make sure that you maintain your balance when walking. As a result of this, your upper back is pushed backwards and your lower back moves forwards. This puts tension and pressure on your muscles, tendons, soft tissue and joints. Therefore, it is essential that you avoid wearing very high heeled shoes for long periods of time as, over time, damage if caused, and can lead to more serious degenerative conditions. Shoes with a lower heel, with a firm heel counter and cushioned soles, will be more beneficial to your back in the long term.

Orthotics

Orthotics are useful to correct your foot posture and improve your overall alignment, especially if you have high or low arches. Orthotics come in two forms: over-the-counter and custom made orthotics. Over-the-counter orthotics are simple insoles that you can purchase from the chemist or shoe store. These are not designed specifically for your circumstances and typically provide cushioning and a simple arch support. Custom orthotics are orthotics that your Podiatrist can make specifically for your foot with a prescription that is based on your individual biomechanics. The type of custom orthotics that are most suitable for you depends upon a number of factors, including the severity of your back pain. It is important to see your Podiatrist for a complete assessment to ensure you get the best treatment.

Foot Posture and Back Pain

Broadway Burrard ChiropraticBack pain is present in around 18% of the general population and is highly preventable in most cases. You are at more risk of developing back pain, especially lower back pain, if you are: female, getting older, obese, have a lower...

What are the best shoes for orthotics?

For some of us, our orthotics have become a part of our daily lives. They provide great relief from the aches, cramps and twinges we experience during our daily activities, typically as a result of our faulty foot biomechanics or external strain/forces. Yet, after...

Tinea pedis/Athlete’s foot

Tinea pedis/Athlete’s foot

Tinea pedis, also known as athlete’s foot is a skin infection that is caused by a fungal infection. It usually presents as red, macerated, peeling or flaky skin in-between the toes or soles of your feet. The fungal infection typically grows in areas that are warm and humid, so it is more likely to grow if your feet are in enclosed toe shoes for long periods of time. Thus fungal infections have become more common in recent years with more individuals wearing shoes that don’t let your feet to breathe.

What are the causes of Tinea?

Tinea is caused by a number of species of fungi but most commonly a species called Trichophyton rubrum. This species is found in warm and humid environments, including numerous areas in Australia. This fungal species is also contagious and can spread to different individuals when walking barefooted on contaminated surfaces such as shared changing rooms, showers and swimming pool areas. They can also be present in shoes, socks and towels.

What are the symptoms of tinea?

  • Red and flaky skin
  • Skin peeling
  • Itching, stinging or burning
  • Small red blisters
  • Scaly rash covering the entire soles and up the sides of the feet (moccasin tinea).

What are the treatments for tinea infections?

Treatments for tinea infections including topical treatment in the form of antifungal creams, sprays, ointments and powders. These are typically available over the counter. Other treatments including oral tablets, which are usually prescribed by your doctor.

10 tips to avoid tinea infections:

  • Wash your feet thoroughly every day when you come back from work, you can use products with tea-tree oil to help prevent bacterial and/or tinea infection.
  • Make sure to dry in between the toes well.
  • Change socks every day.
  • Wear breathable socks.
  • Let your shoes air dry.
  • Put your shoes in the sun to kill any fungal spores.
  • Use a tea-tree spray for your shoes and on your feet.
  • Alternate your shoes.
  • Wear shoes with a breathable material
  • Wear flip flops in shared environments such as swimming pools and showers.

not assigned 105
foot disorders 5
sports injuries 2
Common Foot Problems 12
foot care tips 12

Foot Posture and Back Pain

Broadway Burrard ChiropraticBack pain is present in around 18% of the general population and is highly preventable in most cases. You are at more risk of developing back pain, especially lower back pain, if you are: female, getting older, obese, have a lower...

What are the best shoes for orthotics?

For some of us, our orthotics have become a part of our daily lives. They provide great relief from the aches, cramps and twinges we experience during our daily activities, typically as a result of our faulty foot biomechanics or external strain/forces. Yet, after...

10 Tips on How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet (Bromodosis)

10 Tips on How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet (Bromodosis)

Bromodosis is the term used to describe smelly feet or foot odour. This is a common medical condition that affects a number of individuals. Your feet have a tendency to sweat profusely as they have more sweat glands than any other part of your body. Sweat regulation is also affected by your hormones and thus teenagers and pregnant women tend to sweat more. However, it is not the sweat that causes the odour but actually the bacteria that grows as a result of the sweating. There are naturally occurring bacteria already present on your skin but extra bacteria can form and remain on your skin and shoes if not properly cleaned, causing the bad odour. However, there is good news as smelly feet can be treated easily.

Here are 10 things that you can do at home to prevent and help with smelly feet.

1. Make sure you wash your feet regularly, especially after your feet have been in enclosed toe shoes for a long period of time. Wash with a mild soap and scrub in between your toes as this is where bacteria tend to grow the most. After washing, make sure to dry thoroughly.

2. Change your socks regularly, at least once every day.

3. Clean and maintain your toenails.

4. Use different pairs of shoes or have two pairs of shoes that you can alternate between so it gives the other shoe time to dry properly.

5. Use tea-tree spray ( inside your shoes to remove bacteria and get rid of odour.

6. Leave your shoes in the sun to eliminate bacteria and dry the moisture from the shoes.

7. Use rubbing alcohol or Friar’s balsam to prevent excessive sweating.

8. Use breathable socks.

9. Use antifungal sprays to prevent athletes foot.

10. You also use deodorising insoles that can be purchased from the chemist.

Smelly feet can be an embarrassing condition but it is relatively easy to treat. With regular attention and care, you can potentially eliminate foot odour in 1-2 weeks. The tips above are usually very effective but in severe cases seeing a doctor may be necessary.

 

 

Foot Posture and Back Pain

Broadway Burrard ChiropraticBack pain is present in around 18% of the general population and is highly preventable in most cases. You are at more risk of developing back pain, especially lower back pain, if you are: female, getting older, obese, have a lower...

What are the best shoes for orthotics?

For some of us, our orthotics have become a part of our daily lives. They provide great relief from the aches, cramps and twinges we experience during our daily activities, typically as a result of our faulty foot biomechanics or external strain/forces. Yet, after...

Preventing Falls

Preventing Falls

Falls can occur anywhere and anytime but as you grow older you are more risk of falling down during day to day activities and are likely to injure yourself. There are number of reasons for falls in elderly patient’s. As you grow older your vision becomes impaired, your muscles can become weaker and joints stiffer, which can all lead to the risk of falling. Falls can also be a sign of side effects from medications, balance problems and short term illnesses. 

If you have had a fall in the past six months you have a higher likelihood of falling again. Moreover, other factors that can increase the risk of falling include: poor footwear, hazards in your home, poor lighting, chronic diseases and sensory and balances issues.

However, there are number things that you can do to help prevent falls. Here are a few tips to reduce the risk of falling. 

  • Good diet that provides all the vitamins and minerals that you need. 
  • Drink enough water to keep you hydrated
  • Exercise to strengthen muscles and joints
  • Wearing good shoes that are supportive and well fitting. 
  • Avoid walking in socks. 
  • Wearing well-fitting clothing, especially pants. 
  • Decluttering your house to prevent trip hazards (e.g. loose mats, objects in your path). 
  • Using aids to walk/installing grab rails in the bathroom. 
  • Using ramps and other mobility aids if required. 
  • Have good lighting in your house, especially at night time. 

Contact us today for foot problems.

Foot Posture and Back Pain

Broadway Burrard ChiropraticBack pain is present in around 18% of the general population and is highly preventable in most cases. You are at more risk of developing back pain, especially lower back pain, if you are: female, getting older, obese, have a lower...

What are the best shoes for orthotics?

For some of us, our orthotics have become a part of our daily lives. They provide great relief from the aches, cramps and twinges we experience during our daily activities, typically as a result of our faulty foot biomechanics or external strain/forces. Yet, after...

Cerebral Palsy and Toe Walking

Cerebral Palsy and Toe Walking

Photo credit: BabyCenter.com

You may notice that your child is walking on their toes or tip toeing around the house. However, there is usually no reason to worry as some children may just like to walk on their tip toes (while pretending to be a ballet dancer, for example), whereas others may just have tight calf muscles causing them to have a bouncy gait.

However, you should talk to your podiatrist if:

  • they always walk on their toes and have stiffness in their muscles
  • they uncoordinated
  • this is accompanied by delayed development in their motor skills
  • there is a waddling gait or a lot of stumbling

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a condition or group of disorders, present at birth (congenital) or acquired, which adversely effect the movement, muscle tone and balance of a child. Cerebral palsy occurs due to damage to the brain centre that control the movement of muscles. There are other factors that can cause cerebral palsy such as:

  • deprivation of oxygen at birth (asphyxia) or reduced oxygen levels in the womb or during birth
  • womb infections leading to abnormal inflammatory response, which can cause an
  • autoimmune attack on the developing baby’s nervous system

Other causes include:

  • placental pathology
  • inborn errors
  • genetic causes

Risk factors for cerebral palsy are premature delivery, coexisting at birth abnormalities, growth restrictions in the womb and excessive multiple pregnancies.

Types of cerebral palsy

Spastic hemiplegia – one arm and one leg are affected on the same side of the body.

Spastic diplegia – both legs or both arms are affected.

Monoplegia – only one leg or one arm is affected.

Quadriplegia – both legs and both arms are affected. Sometimes, the muscles of the trunk, mouth, tongue and windpipe are also affected making it difficult to eat and talk.

Triplegia – both arms and one leg or both legs and one arm are affected.

Treatment

Orthotics

Orthotics can help prevent functional problems from getting worse and allows the passive correction of the deformity in a non-rigid spasticity; they also provide stability during gait and assist with function. Orthotics do not necessarily have to extend above the knee, but their main function should be to provide joint and foot alignment.

Ankle Foot Orthoses / Ritchie Braces

AFOs (ankle foot orthoses) or other products, such as Ritchie Braces can also be recommended if they have excessive calf muscle tightness. A solid AFOs ensures foot control and helps the ankle joint. Also, they increase side-to-side stability and help the foot with ground contact. Research has shown that these braces reduce the high impact forces early in children with spastic diplegia.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy helps maintain balance, with postural exercises being the most effective. Furthermore, lower extremity exercises such as Theraband calf muscle exercises can also help increase the muscle strength. Presently, physical therapy options include: neuro-developmental therapy, sensory integration therapy, bracing, stretching and pressure point stimulation.

Intramuscular Injections

Newer treatment types include intramuscular injections for spasticity. Injections include local anaesthesia in order to block the nerve supply to the muscle and reduce spasticity. Botulinum (the same thing used for “botox” injections) can also be used for intramuscular injection to block and release the muscles. This helps to relieve spasticity.

What Next?

If you child has a problem with walking or if you just want your child checked to see if their function is within normal limits, see our podiatrists today for a thorough assessment and discussion of options.

Foot Posture and Back Pain

Broadway Burrard ChiropraticBack pain is present in around 18% of the general population and is highly preventable in most cases. You are at more risk of developing back pain, especially lower back pain, if you are: female, getting older, obese, have a lower...

Tinea pedis/Athlete’s foot

Tinea pedis, also known as athlete’s foot is a skin infection that is caused by a fungal infection. It usually presents as red, macerated, peeling or flaky skin in-between the toes or soles of your feet. The fungal infection typically grows in areas that are warm and...

Gout

Gout

Photo courtesy: Consumer Reports

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis, often termed ‘the disease of kings’, caused by the deposition of uric acid (monosodium urate) crystals in tissues and typically the joint fluid. This occurs as a result of excessive production of uric acid by the body, or under-excretion of uric acid by the renal system.

Gout is characterised by four clinical phases: 

1. Phase I – involves the deposition of uric acid with no symptoms

2. Phase II – (further uric acid deposition) involves intermittent acute attacks of pain and inflammation which resolves spontaneously over a period of 7 – 10 days.

3. Phase III – The stage between acute gout attacks and persistent crystal accumulation.

4. Phase IV – If the excessive crystal deposits are not controlled, individuals can transition into phase IV of gout, which is characterised by chronic crystallisation involving numerous joint attacks and the deposition of crystals in joints as well as in soft tissues.

Risk factors:

Men are more likely to develop gout and a family history of gout also increases the risk of developing the disease.

Risk factors for gout includes:

  • Some drugs: e.g thiazide diuretics, cyclosporine, low-dose aspirin
  • Diet that mainly consist of meat, seafood and refined sugars/drinks or alcohol.
  • Other factors that are associated with gout include insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, obesity, renal insufficiency, hypertension, organ transplantation and congestive heart failure.

Recurrent attacks or flares can also be induced by the use of recent diuretics, alcohol intake, surgery or trauma and recent hospitalisation; initial use of uric acid lowering drugs can also trigger gout attacks in the early periods, however reduce the risk of attacks in the long term.

Signs and Symptoms:

Clinical features of gout include spontaneous onset of intense pain, swelling and redness that most commonly affects the big toe joint (known as podagra). It can also affect other joints of the foot, ankle, mid-tarsal, wrist and knee.  Other problems that can cause similar symptoms include pseudogout, psoriatic arthritis and septic arthrtis.

Investigations:

The standard for the diagnosis of gout still remains removal of the joint fluid and evaluation to check for monosodium urate crystals under a microscope. As gout and septic arthritis can co-exist it is also essential to analyse the joint fluid for bacteria through culture. Radiographic imaging of the joints can show the changes due to a chronic history of gout. Sometimes, evidence of crystals in the joint may be seen, but not always. Recently, ultrasound, CT and MRI are also emerging techniques for the diagnosis of gout.

Treatment:

Treatment of gout can involve drug therapy as well as support and rehabilitation measures. Pharmacological management aims to treat acute gout attacks and also helps to maintain an appropriate level of uric acid in the blood in order to prevent recurrence. The British rheumatology guidelines prefer the use of NSAIDs at a high dosage (given no contraindications to its use) with a treatment period of 1-2 weeks. Therapy starts with high doses of anti-inflammatory medications for the first few days with a decrease in the dosage as the symptomatology subsides. For acute attacks of gout, another drug called colchicine is also used in addition to anti-inflammatory medicine.

Long-term management for gout consists of managing the urate levels and maintaining the concentration below a certain level. However, urate-lowering drug therapy is only indicated in patients who have experienced multiple gout attacks or chronic joint pathology and extensive crystal deposition.

Chronic gout can be painful and significantly reduce the mobility in the joint due to the crystal deposits, and the inflammation and damage caused by this. Orthotic therapy is often beneficial in order to increase the range of motion of particular joints and protect the foot from further deformity that can be caused by chronic gout.