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Chiropractic Care for Bunions

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Posted on 07-06-2011

Ladies, those fashionable women's shoes, high heel stilettos, and tight shoes cause an array of foot maladies. There is a high price for fashionable foot wear, unfortunately bunions and foot surgeries are far too often added to that price tag. Most foot problems can be avoided if issues are caught early. Fortunately, I am trained to spot the early signs of bunions and other nasty foot issues.

I have been working on feet since 1978 and added chiropractic adjusting to the practice in 1999. For the last 12 years I've been able to save many happy patients from expensive and invasive surgeries. How is that possible? What do I do that is different? For these answers let's first look at the geometry of the feet. The foot like the spine and has 26 bones (the spine has 24 vertebrae a sacrum and coccyx). The spine ideally has 3 curves and the foot ideally has 3 arches. There is an ideal positioning or placement for each of these 26 bones in the foot. Whenever a bone in the foot misalignments, overtime due to over pronation or other foot placement issues, or from a sudden impact injury (i.e. bumping the foot creating a sprain), friction and irritation are created in the joints (sometimes present, and unnoticed for years). These malpositioned bones and joints often affect neighboring nerves adversely, resulting in either sharp pain, or numbness and tingling, or loss of muscle strength. In the case of bunions, there is a marked loss of muscle strength, which the majority of bunions sufferers are clueless too. An abductor hallucis muscle weakness to be exact.

My exam for this is a combination of visual clues, palpatory findings (how I test for bone and joint placement), and muscle testing. It is important that all foot muscles stay strong.  When abductor hallucis weakens, the muscle responsible for holding the big toe straight, there is a propensity for bunions. If bunions are prevalent in your family you need schedule an office visit and we can start preventative measures. Unfortunately, by the time most women visit the podiatrist for this type of problem, it is too late for preventive care.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, TTS

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but in the foot. TTS is a nerve impingement of the tibial nerve, within the tarsal tunnel of the foot. The tibia nerve controls the abductor hallucis muscle or ABM. When the tiba nerve is impinged the control to the ABM short circuits and this muscle becomes weak. My job is to search for, find, and adjust the misaligned bones and joints responsible for the nerve impingement. If improper foot biomechanics are an underlying issue, than I may apply some taping to the foot (as a short term fix) and order custom made foot orthotics for long term management. With proper manipulation of the bones of the feet, the cause of many foot problems including bunions can be averted, in advance. Along with chiropractic manipulation of your feet, I recommend foot exercises. Look for my supplemental article, coming soon, on beneficial exercises for the feet. Happy feet too all!

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