Chiropractor in Northfield Discusses Toe Pain

My foot is killing me!

Toe pain

My foot is killing me!  Well, not really, but it is causing problems.  Have you ever thought that your feet and toes could be the root of your ankle, knee, hip, and back pain?  We see it in our office all the time.  As chiropractors, we generally work the other way around, focusing on spinal and pelvic misalignment that effects the rest of the body.  However, we’ve become more aware that we have to treat both to be effective, no matter which one started it.

The photo/xray displayed is that of none other than yours truly, Dr. Bridget.  We all know we’re our own worst enemies, and we can ignore ourselves to focus on others (hello moms).  So, likely for years, I ran and worked out regularly.  And, like many, I also have this weird complex about my feet and long toes.  Not to place any blame, but thanks to some great friends in high school that used to make fun of my monkey toes, I hated wearing sandals or any open toes shoes for years.  And, up until recently, I found myself crunching my toes together to hide them and make them appear shorter.  Who knew all of that could cause morphological changes to the tissues of my toes?!  So, about 2 years ago, I looked down at these monstrous toes that I’ve always hated and thought “when did that toe explode?”  My middle toe on one foot was about 3 times the size of my other toes.  It felt like two deep calluses inside, but didn’t hurt or seem to bother me, so I left it alone.  Fast forward to more recently, I started noticing some pain if I walked barefoot on hard surfaces, like my hard toe was slapping the ground too hard.  Then came the corona virus.  Stressful, right?  With more time at home plus more stress, I filled my anxious free time with extra workouts.  Suddenly, my toe literally exploded.  It swelled so fast that my skin burst open.  Disgusting, no visuals needed.  I tele-healthed with a podiatrist friend and shot an xray of my foot to find this.  Heterotrophic Ossificans.  In short, I grew fluffy bones where they’re not supposed to be.

So what can I do?  Well, after healing the burst open sore, laying off of it for a bit, and getting adjusted.  I started wearing toe spacers.  Talk about walking on a cloud!  These silly, silicone rings changed my whole gait!  I didn’t realize how bad I was rolling my foot to the outside and creating another callus on the outside of my 5th metatarsal.  By wearing the toe spacers, I properly shifted my weight through my foot when I walked.  The next time I worked out, it hit me.  Sean T yelled “spread your toes” when we were balancing on one leg.  I had really never done this before.  Instead, I had typically crunched my toes together as if I was going to try to rip the carpet out from under me.  However, with the toe spacers and some mental training, my balance and ergonomics are better, my ankles, knees, hip, and back are thankful, and I can actually run better (for all that know me… I run, but I hate it).

Why am I telling all of this?  Because I want you to know that waiting until the pain is too bad to bare isn’t right.  You’ll only cause more issues, take more time to heal, and possibly have to take further measures to continue working and living.  If I had just taken some time to notice the small change in my ankle and foot eversion and figured out that I could use simple toe spacers a few years back, I would have never grown this extra bony tissue.  The extra time during the quarantine has allowed me to focus on some continuing education of foot mechanics.  Our office now offers toe spacers, metatarsal pads, heel pads, and more.  Supports, alongside chiropractic adjustments of the extremities and spine as well as acupuncture, can keep you from falling into bad patterns.  We’re here to help you live life more optimally.  Give us a call at 507-645-8000 for your appointment.