Do your feet and ankles feel stiff and sore?
Do you have a painful joints in your feet that don’t seem to bend?
Your body uses joint mobility, (as well is a muscle flexibility and strength) to allow your feet to function regardless of the structure above your foot or the ground underneath. If the joints are not working correctly the body often stiffens them to protect the tissues from any further damage.
Long term, if this condition continues, osteoarthritis may occur, resulting in reduced mobility and further compensations. The most common method of compensatory movement in the foot is pronation, or the foot rolling in and the arch flattening.
While pronation is an absolutely normal movement, if the foot continues to work in a flattened posture, adaptations will occur; most commonly stiff and dysfunctional joints. The result is anything from feeling a little tired and achy at the end of the day to any type footwear being extremely painful, and the only comfort you get is being barefoot or in thongs.
If we think there is greater joint degeneration or change than is normally expected in your age group we may refer you to have weight bearing X-Rays. An X-Ray allows us to:
- Quantify the extent of joint changes and degeneration so we know which joints can be mobilised and those that should not
- Measure the alignment of the bones of the foot and note which joints are involved and why the pain and stiffness is occurring
- Create a baseline of the current status of your foot’s structure, (good & bad), so we can measure any changes from treatment as you improve.
Phase 1: Improving Joint Range of Motion
Foot Mobilisation Techniques (FMT)
Improving joint range of motion in your feet will usually improve the pain dramatically.
The practice of FMT is a specifically developed form of manual therapy aimed at improving your foot and leg functionality. FMT targets the joints of your foot and ankle, which are stiff, poorly aligned or dysfunctional and aims to gradually restore the way they work. This is achieved through a series of 'hands on' treatment sessions in conjunction with an exercise regime specifically prescribed for you.
Research shows that rehabilitation of the soft issues around the joints takes six weeks. The best results are with a schedule of three weeks of two short mobilisation sessions per week followed by three weeks of one session per week. Of course, it does depend on your individual condition.
You will be given homework of stretching, strengthening and stability exercises so that the improvements that are gained by the mobilisation are reinforced and built on. This way we work to ensure the improvements in your pain and mobility are long lasting.
FMT has evolved from combining the podiatric biomechanical understanding of foot & leg function, with the manual therapeutic experience of physiotherapy and chiropractic.
The pioneer of manipulative techniques for feet and ankles was Dr John Martin Hiss. From North America. Dr Hiss set up clinics across the U.S. in the 1920s to treat foot pain with a collaborative team of MDs, osteopaths, podiatrists and chiropractors. This has been added to by many practitioners discovering different techniques that will achieve better results in working with the different foot structures and joint conditions we see in individual’s feet such as arthritis, joint enlargement and restriction from previous injuries.
Chung Shi BioMo Footwear
Chung Shi shoes have been designed to enhance the anatomically correct movement of weight-bearing through the foot. This assists the joints to function and move through their range of motion with every step. At Total Care Podiatry, if we think the correction of these shoes is the best option to rehabilitate your foot over a 12 to 24 month period, we will fit them to your feet so you can trial them in the clinic first. Then, if the podiatrist notes an improvement in your gait and you feel comfortable you can take them home for a seven day trial around your home at no charge nor obligation. For more details of these amazing shoes click here.
Phase 2: Keeping your feet mobile
Our aim is to first get you pain-free as quickly as possible. We then need to also address the cause so that you can achieve the greatest level of mobility.
At Total Care Podiatry the podiatrist will ascertain what dysfunction is occurring in your feet, how this is interacting with the muscles in your back, pelvis and legs and will see what areas in your lifestyle may be placing you at risk such as your posture, daily activities, sport, and even footwear.
We’ll discuss the very best options available to you as we design your individual treatment plan to work in with your lifestyle and achieve your goals.