The spine is the framework which supports and protects the spinal cord. Most of these nerves pass from the spinal cord through small openings in the spine to various muscles, organs bones and even our skin.
The spine comprises of 24 moveable bones, 23 discs (which act as shock absorbers and allow movement to occur), and has attachments for 12 sets of ribs and hundreds of ligaments and muscles. 31 pairs of nerves exit the spine.
Because of the spines complexity, it's normal movements are easily disrupted. Falls, incorrect lifting, stress, repetitive movements, faulty posture and even illness may cause disruption to the normal mechanics of the spine. The areas of abnormal movement are what chiropractors call subluxations. Essentially a subluxation can be the result of one of the "3 - Ts" trauma (acute or overuse injury), toxins (what you eat/drink or breathe), or thoughts (negative thinking or emotions).
Do you suffer with any of these common problems?...
Collapsed foot arch (Pronation Syndrome)
We see collapsed foot arches very commonly, and can help people with collapsed arches to get the treatment and orthotics they need to relieve pain and restore function to the foot and other parts of the body that are affected.
When over-pronation occurs, and the inside arch collapses, this can affect a number of structures in the foot, and up through the other joints of the leg, pelvis and spine. This classically causes the development of a variety of conditions including poor posture, bunions, heel pain, foot arch pain, shin splints, knee pain, hip pain, sciatica, low back pain, etc. You can read more about these conditions below.
Ball of foot pain (Metatarsalgia)
We frequently help people with pain in the ball of the foot using custom Chiropractic Orthotics. The technical term for ball of foot pain is Metatarsalgia This very common problem can affect the muscles, tendons and joints of the forefoot causing pain.
Ball of foot pain is most often localized to the area just behind the big toe. The second most common site of pain is under the second metatarsal. Also, both can be involved as well as under any of the other long bones of the foot.
Great toe pain (Bunion / Hallux Valgus)
Chiropractic Orthotics can help balance the foot and decrease the stress on the great toe when there is a bunion in the foot. A bunion (hallux valgus) is characterized by bending of the great toe sideways. Bunion is the term used to refer to the bump on the side of the great toe joint. The bump is partly due to the swollen tissues around the joint (where the first toe and metatarsal meet).
This is often improperly described as an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the head of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). As the great toe (hallux) turns in toward the second toe, the tissues surrounding the joint may become swollen and tender.
Foot Arch Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)
We use custom Chiropractic orthotics to help balance the foot and help the foot heal from plantar fasciitis (foot arch pain). The plantar fascia is a tendon-like structure that stretches along the arch of the foot from the heel bone (calcaneus) to the end of the long bones of the foot (metatarsals). With excessive or rapid pronation (arch collapse) the plantar fascia is repetitively and excessively stressed, causing pain in the arch of the foot.
A classic sign of this condition is severe pain on walking in the morning that is located near the heel. Plantar fasciitis is very common among people who work on their feet all day, runners, walkers, aerobic dancers, and athletes involved in various sports. Its onset can be triggered by changes in the surface used for training or competition – eg from track to grass or vice versa – or a change in footwear. Another common trigger for plantar fasciitis is a change in training; the addition of hills, stairs or sprints, for example, can cause overuse of the plantar fascia, leading to inflammation and injury.
If an athlete develops plantar fasciitis for the very first time as a result of changes in training surface or methods, the condition will usually respond readily to standard treatments. However, a recurrence of the condition, despite treatment protocols suggests an underlying mechanical fault. This will require custom dynamic Chiropractic orthotics to balance the foot and ehance healing.
Heel Pain ( Heel Spur or Achilles Tendonitis
Custom Chiropractic orthotics can help to balance the foot and help decrease the pain from a heel spur that results from plantar fasciitis (foot arch pain). With excessive or rapid pronation (arch collapse) the plantar fascia is repetitively and excessively stressed, causing pain in the arch of the foot. This pulls on the heel bone eventually causing a heel spur or Achilles tendon injury.
The plantar fascia is a tendon-like structure that stretches along the arch of the foot from the heel bone (calcaneus) to the end of the long bones of the foot (metatarsals). A classic sign of this condition is severe pain on walking in the morning that is located near the heel. Plantar fasciitis is very common among people who work on their feet all day, runners, walkers, aerobic dancers, and athletes involved in various sports. Its onset can be triggered by changes in the surface used for training or competition – eg from track to grass or vice versa – or a change in footwear. Another common trigger for plantar fasciitis is a change in training; the addition of hills, stairs or sprints, for example, can cause overuse of the plantar fascia, leading to inflammation and injury.
If an athlete develops plantar fasciitis for the very first time as a result of changes in training surface or methods, the condition will usually respond readily to standard treatments. However, a recurrence of the condition, despite treatment protocols suggests an underlying mechanical fault. This will require custom dynamic Chiropractic orthotics to balance the foot and enhance healing.
Shin Splints (Tibial Tendon Disorder)
Orthotics made using the GaitScan system can help to support the foot and prevent abnormal motion that can be the underlying cause of Shin Splints. Pain on the inside of the tibia (shin) is commonly referred to as ‘shin splints’. When this condition is unresponsive to treatment, there may be an underlying biomechanical weakness in the foot, which will benefit from custom Chiropractic orthotic therapy.
There is a long tendon that runs along the back and medial (inside) aspect of the tibia called the posterior tibialis. This tendon then passes behind the inside ankle bone (medial malleolus), and underneath the foot arch, with several attachments onto the underside of the bones of the foot, allowing it to support the arch like a stirrup.
When the foot arch over-pronates and collapses excessively, there is an overstretching of the posterior tibialis muscle and tendon. This causes pain, particularly in the lower third of the tibia where the tendon attaches.
This injury is most prevalent in long distance runners, but is also common in other sports, especially those that involve jumping. As with plantar fasciitis, if an athlete develops this condition for the very first time following abrupt changes to training surface or methods, it will respond readily to standard treatment.
However, if the condition is unresponsive to treatment, or recurs subsequently, there may well be an underlying biomechanical weakness in the foot, which will benefit from orthotic treatment.
Runners Knee (IT Band Syndrome / Patella Tracking Syndrome)
There are two types of Runners Knee – IlioTibial Band Sydrome (ITBS) and Patella-Femoral Tracking Syndrome (PFTS). Both may be due to too much twisting of the knee as a result of collapse of the foot arch. Chiropractic orthotics can help to control excessive arch collapse and help this condition to heal.
The iliotibial band (ITB) is a very long tendon extending from the hip dwon to the outside of the knee. The ITB spans the length of the upper leg, crosses the knee and attaches below it. The contraction of this muscle controls the movements of both the hip and the knee, stabilising them during walking and running.
Injury to this tendon is very common in long distance walkers / runners and tennis or squash players. Common triggers of injury include radical changes to the intensity, frequency or duration of activity and/or changes in the surface. And in such cases most people will respond to physiotherapy.
However, if the condition proves does not resond to treatment, or keeps coming back, an underlying biomechanical problem is the likely culprit. Abnormal foot mechanics are often to blame: over-pronation followed by twisting of the tibia causes the ITB to pull away from its attachments on the outside of the tibia, causing strain, irritation and ultimately pain or dysfunction.
Patella-Femoral Tracking Syndrome is a condition that results from the kneecap gliding abnormally between the femoral condyles (a groove at the bottom end of the thigh bone) as the knee bends and straightens
The four major muscles in the thigh (quadriceps) share a common tendon that attaches just below the knee and encases the kneecap. Therefore the contraction of the quadriceps has an impact on how the kneecap glides in this groove. If there is abnormal pulling of the quadriceps on the kneecap, this can cause the kneecap to grind rather than glide in the groove, leading to inflammation and pain.
This condition is common in long distance runners (hence ‘runner’s knee’), particularly in women, who have wider hips than men and are therefore comparatively knock-kneed.
Factors that predispose people to runner’s knee include previous trauma and muscle imbalance, as well as abnormal foot biomechanics. When the foot over-pronates, this creates a twisting, or torsional, force which extends up into the knee, causing the top of the tibia to twist inwards, changing the way the quadriceps pulls against the kneecap, with the painful consequences described above.
Custom Chiropractic orthotics will stabilize the foot and knee to prevent the abnormal movement of the knee cap on the knee and therefore help relieve the pain.
Jumpers Knee (Infra-Patellar Tendonitis)
If the knee twists at the same time the it is flexing and extending during the jumping motion, it can put too much force into the tendon just below the knee cap (infra-patellar tendon). Adding custom Chiropractic Orthotics to the care of Jumpers Knee can help decrease pain and increase healing.
Jumpes Knee is a condition that results from the kneecap being pulled excessively away from the front of the tibia bone as the knee bends and straightens. The four major muscles in the thigh (quadriceps) share a common tendon that attaches just below the knee and encases the kneecap. Therefore the contraction of the quadriceps has an impact on how the kneecap pulls the tendon below it that attaches to the lower leg (tibia). If there is abnormal pulling of the quadriceps on the kneecap, this can cause the tendon to be overstretched and irritated, leading to inflammation and pain.
This condition is common in people engaged in jumping sports such as net ball, basketball, athletics, etc. (hence ‘jumpers knee’). Factors that predispose people to runner’s knee include previous trauma and muscle imbalance, as well as abnormal foot biomechanics. When the foot over-pronates, this creates a twisting, or torsional, force which extends up into the knee, causing the top of the tibia to twist inwards, changing the way the quadriceps pulls against the kneecap, with the painful consequences described above.
Custom Chiropractic orthotics will stabilize the foot and knee to prevent the abnormal on the infra-patellar tendon and therefore help relieve the pain.
Hip Pain (Piriformis Syndrome)
When the thigh bone (femur) rotates too much during activity, this can cause the piriformis muscle to be injured. Chiropractic Orthotics can help to balance the movement of the femur and the hip joint to prevent irritation to the pirifomis muscle and relieve pain in the hip, buttock, and down the leg.
Piriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder that occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed by the piriformis muscle causing pain, tingling and numbness in the buttocks and along the path of the sciatic nerve down the lower thigh and into the leg. This syndrome may be due to overuse or strain of the muscle. Runners, bicyclists and other peopole engaging in forward-moving activities are susceptible to developing piriformis syndrome.
Piriformis syndrome can also be caused by overpronation of the foot. When a foot overpronates it causes the knee to turn medially, causing the piriformis to activate to prevent over-rotating the knee. This causes the piriformis to become overused and therefore tight, eventually leading to piriformis syndrome. Therefore, the use of Chiropractic orthotics to control overpronation in the foot can help a great deal in treating and resolving piriformis syndrome
Low back pain (Lumbar Strain)
Low back pain results from irritation of the joints, muscles and tendons in the low back due to overuse. Biomechanical faults in the foot, knee and hip contribute to this problem by creating a functional leg length inequality or putting twisting stress into the back. Chiropractic orthotics can help to control abnormal biomechanics, decrease pain, and allow the low back to heal.
Low back pain is a very common problem and is often misdiagnosed as a simple strain or sprain. For this reason, people with back problems are well advised to consult a practitioner with experience in treating pelvic and spinal conditions by looking at the underlying causes.
The lumbar spine comprises the bottom five vertebrae, connected by 10 joints (five on either side of the spine) and five inter-vertebral discs. Thus there are 15 joints and multiple ligamentous tendons and muscles that facilitate stability and movement in this area.
These joints, like any other joints in the body, can be damaged by macro- or micro-trauma. In the absence of biomechanical faults in the leg or foot, acute injury to the lumbar spine should respond to standard treatments. However, underlying biomechanical faults will compromise the healing of an acute injury, and can lead to chronic overuse injury.
Over-pronation of the foot can set off a chain of abnormal stresses that can eventually affect the lumbar spine joints. This can result in chronic low back pain that is aggravated by standing, walking or running for any length of time.
Typically, an affected person will feel a bit better after relative rest and/or treatment, but will experience a recurrence of the condition with return to full activity. Taking anti-inflammatories is NOT the answer. Attending to the underlying cause IS the answer.
Sciatica (Lumbar Disc Protrusion)
Sciatica is a very complicated condition, and it can be difficult to diagnose and treat. When biomechanical faults in the foot and ankle are the underlying problem, this must be addressed as any treatment that does not include balancing the biomechanics is doomed to fail. Adding Chiropractic orthotics to the treatment will speed up recovery and prevent the recurrence of the pain.
Those affected by sciatica tend to feel pain and/or stiffness over the region of the low back and pelvis. They may also experience pain in the groin or buttock, or radiating down the thigh. In more severe cases, this pain can radiate into the lower leg and foot, and be accompanied by numbness and tingling.
This area can become inflamed and irritated as a result of acute trauma from a fall or impact. More commonly, however, this inflammation is a manifestation of overuse caused by faulty biomechanics.
If the foot is over-pronating and the tibia is twisting inwards, the torsional forces at the knee will ultimately result in twisting of the thigh bone (femur), which leads, in turn, to twisting of the ilium (hip bone). This creates stress at the pelvis and spine. And this stress leads, in turn, to irritation of the ligaments, tendons and muscles that stabilise these joints.
The biggest, and most important, of these joints is the lumbar disc joint. When the disc is irritated or torn it can lead to the symptoms described above. If it bursts and leaks out the gel like fluid inside, this can cause a disc prolapsed and cause severe symptoms in the buttock and leg. All of this can be prevented by early diagnosis and treatment that includes Chiropractic adjustments, rehabilitative exercise for core stability and custom Chiropractic orthotics to stabilize the whole kinetic chain.
Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)
Curvature of the spine (scoliosis) is commonly due to a functional leg length inequality (FLLI) that the tilts the pelvis and causes the spine to curve in response to this tilting. FLLI is a result of overpronation of the feet. Therefore, custom Chiropractic Orthotics can balance the foot function, which then balances the leg length, which balances the pelvis and allows the spine to balance and decrease the curvature.
Scoliosis is a condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side. The spine of an individual with scoliosis may look more like an "S" or a "C", rather than a straight line. This curvature is rarely due to a genetic change or a disease process. It is commonly due to biomechanical faults in the foot and lower legs. Often it is due to either an anatomical or functional difference in the leg length. If it is an anatomical difference, where one leg is actually shorter than the other, then the use of lifts, braces and exercise can treat the problem. When the underlying problem is a functional, this is due to foot dysfunction, and custom orthotics are required to balance the foot and therefore balance the leg length and the spinal curves.