The foot is a wonderful adaptation which allows humans to get around more efficiently and over a greater range of terrains compared to some of our mammalian cousins.
What does it do?
The foot acts like a spring which is being loaded up and then released with every step. A clever muscle and ligament system stores and releases the energy with precise timing when we walk, run, jump, climb or even skip!
The mid-foot has a “bag” of small bones (think dice) which loosen when off weight-bearing and then on feeling the force of the ground below, their ligamentous system firms up and this shapes the foot to the uneven surface below. Further adjustments can be made at the ankle, and if need be, the knee and hip on very rough terrain.
Why do things go wrong?
Usually there is a traumatic event which happens during sport, or an accident at home/work. If it is immediately very painful, you will probably take a trip to A+E to have an X-ray and fracture clinic treatment if necessary. If there is little immediate pain, but it progresses over the next 24 hours, then most likely you have a ligament or tendon strain or tear.
Sometimes there is no memorable onset, and ligaments or tendons become progressively more painful because of a repetitive strain put on those tissues over weeks and months. There can be hereditary, developmental and postural inputs; work, activity and lifestyle all play a part, so please don’t think we are nosey for asking so many questions.
When things go wrong
If we do have a problem with the muscles, tendons and ligaments, or the nervous system which orchestrates the whole show, then most of us will rest up and hope things will get better by themselves, and they often do. Sometimes, of course things don’t get better in the timescale we expect, and that is when Health in Motion Osteopaths can use their extensive anatomical knowledge, analytical skills and experience to offer an explanation and treatment plan to get you back onto your feet sooner.
You may come to the clinic with a diagnosis already; there are many named conditions of the foot. Some of these are umbrella terms and some are very specific. Osteopaths have an understanding of the terminology used by the medical profession and we are trained to look out for the injuries and conditions which require urgent or timely referral to orthopaedic or other consultants.