Spring is the time to get out and walk… But sometimes this could lead to unexpected pain. Often when you come in with back pain from increased walking, we start our examination by first measuring how tight your calf muscles are.  Your tight calf muscles can be very sensitive to the touch, but often they are not sore at all.  Either way, your tight calf muscles will have a negative effect on how your feet, knees, hips and back work.  Tight calf muscles will result in less motion of the ankles. You may compensate by turning your feet out or rotating your knees in.  Clinically this can present at either knee or foot pain.  If the pain in the feet is bad enough, you could be diagnosed with plantar fasciitis that will make it very painful to walk. When your feet turn out, or your knees turn in, it will affect how your hips and low back functions.  Poor foot and ankle motion will cause your hips to turn out in compensation. You could present with hip pain that could even cause pain to refer down the legs. Often our clients will also complain of very tight hip muscles that are very sensitive to the touch.  Tight hips mean that you will not have enough motion in the hips for normal walking.  Your body will compensate by increasing motion in your lower back to counter act the tight hips.  This can result in low back pain and muscle stiffness.

Fortunately, the problems in the feet, knees, hips and low back are frequently functional in nature and can be treated by some simple techniques. First and foremost, stretch your calf muscles out. Full ankle and foot motion will help your foot, knee, hips and low back move better.  Chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture and massage of the affected areas will help to restore normal motion and decrease pain.  Good footwear is also crucial in maintaining function of the legs, hips and back.  If you are not sure how to assess your shoes, feel free to drop by and have us evaluate your shoes. Sometimes your foot function cannot be treated by chiropractic adjustments, muscle therapy, acupuncture or footwear and you may need to wear orthotics to improve your feet.  We can do a foot assessment and gait scan to determine if this is necessary.

Don’t let foot, knee or back pain prevent you from enjoying this spring.