Common Foot Conditions Treated at Downtown Toronto Podiatrist and Physiotherapist InStride
Foot pain conditions can often times be treated by focusing only on the foot. However, our model for treating foot pain conditions at InStride, such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, hallux limitus and shin splints, looks at these injuries considering the entire kinetic chain. This theory of treatment is based on the principle of regional interdependence, which means weaknesses above the foot can lead to foot problems.
Some Common Foot Pain Conditions
The forefoot and toes, formed by the 5 metatarsal heads and 14 phalanges, act as a lever during the pre swing phase of gait (just before take off ). That is why it is important to have strong feet but to also not forget about the forces acting on the foot. It makes sense that if there is foot weakness, foot pain can results from that weakness. It only makes sense to have the forces acting above the foot stronger, to help reduce impact forces.
Hammer toes can develop when either the long toe extensors or long toe flexors substitute for weakness of the primary dorsiflexors or plantar flexors of the foot. That means weakness in the tibialis anterior or calf. Hammertoes often occur after injury, such as a rupture of the plantar fascia, or with neuromuscular disease states, such as diabetic neuropathy or neuropathy from another causative factor. Hammertoes can also be caused by wearing improper shoes in the growth years.
Claw Toes are caused by Hyperextension of the MTP joint and flexion of the PIP and DIP joints. Basically like a hammertoe but the very tip of the toe curls under. Claw toes affect the lateral four toes. Caused by progressive wasting of the intrinsic muscles – interosseous and/or lumbrical muscles. Those are little muscles between the bones of your feet and help your toes wave bye bye and allow the toe to spread apart and close.
Hallux valgus is characterized by the first ray spreading apart. That means when the first bone that connects to the big toe deviates towards the middle of your body, opposed to being straight. This is associated with a pes planus foot type. That is because as the arch collapses and flattens, it pushes that first ray in that position. Pain and dysfunction may also result from a bunion over the first MTP joint.
The joint can have a bursae around it which can get inflamed. Bunionettes can also arise from the same situation, except that bone deviates towards the outside of the body. Tight shoes or shoes that are too narrow for the foot can also cause this issue to arise. It will cause rubbing on the joint.
Excessive pronation can lead to many of the conditions explained above. Controlling pronation can start from the top of the chain at the glute. When dealing with the foot, calf raises and foot strength can help. Orthotics that help to reduce this abnormal motion of the foot and a potential metatarsal pad can also help the bones from spreading outwards and deviating. Orthotics are used to help as a tool during the rehabilitation process and should never be used as a substitute for fixing the underlying weaknesses.