Have you taken a good look at patients’ feet lately?
Start with your own feet. Try it now – I mean it. Slip your feet out of your shoes, take off your socks and give your feet a good look. What do you notice? Are there any callouses, corns or bunions? Do your feet look red or do your toes look cramped and pushed together? When you compare your two feet together, do they look different from one another?
The feet have a story to tell and it may be time you listen.
The feet are our foundation and it is important to make sure that foundation is level and well supported. To give your patients an idea of the connection their feet have with the spine and the rest of their body, here’s a good demonstration for them to do:
• Have the patients stand up with their legs comfortably apart and put their hands on their hips. Instruct them to roll their feet inwards as far as they can and hold that position for a few seconds.
• Ask if they feel the pressure on the inside of their ankles, inner knees, outer hips and perhaps even their lower back?
• Have them roll their feet back to being level again. Ask if they notice how the pressure on those joints was reduced as they did this?
Rolling the feet inwards caused the arches of your feet to excessively over-pronate. You were re-creating a scenario that occurs in over 80 percent of the world’s population. Now you must understand that some inward rolling of the feet is normal, but for many of us, the dropping of the arches is so serious that it causes pain and problems in the feet, ankles, knees and/or the lower back. Some of these joints may even be causing pain for your patients.
From what you have learned in chiropractic school about the arches of the feet and some of the problems that can affect them, it is quite obvious that something must be done to help. Long-term problems will result from any of these conditions if the proper treatment is not sought.
Evaluate your patients’ feet.
Once the connective tissue in the feet stretches, it is permanently stretched out to some degree. So if your patients are having problems with the arches in their feet, they will most likely need the arch support from now on. You want to keep their feet stabilized so their arches don’t get any worse, which would contribute to problems all the way up their kinetic chain.
Remember, the feet are telling you a story. Are you listening?