TLC for Your Painful Toes

Most people don’t realize that bunions and painful toes are a symptom of a larger problem in how their body is functioning…and that problem doesn’t just go away with foot surgery.

Often the bigger problem with your feet is that they are not given the TLC (Tender Loving Care) that they should receive. This isn’t because we want to abuse our feet but often we just assume they are hardy enough to be left on their own.

Once the bunions are bad enough, surgery is usually the only option left. Unfortunately surgery is costly, painful, and often doesn’t fix the true cause of your bunions. On top of this, the correction of a bunion may cause problems with your foot movement afterward. What one researcher, L.D. Lutter, noted regarding bunion surgery was that it is not the best solution for runners, he says, “…a runner must be willing to trade relief of pain for a lower ability to run.”

Dr. Presley Reed, MD of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine documented in “The Medical Disability Advisor” that bunions are 2 to 4 times more common in women than in men. Are those fashionable shoes truly worth the cost to your feet? There’s better ways to show your feet TLC than with a high heel.

Prevention at many stages of bunion and toe-pain development can relieve the problem and pain. A little TLC before your feet get worse can prevent the degenerative changes that may be starting to take place in your feet. The best part of it all is that this prevention is easy and natural.

With a natural cure, you won’t just be relieving your feet from pain, but you’ll be helping your entire body feel better from your ankles, to your knees, to your back. You’ll be able to get back out there and enjoy being active without the nagging pain in your feet.

Here are 10 quick tips on what you can do to love your feet and stop the pain:

1. Temperature therapy. The rule of thumb is: heat therapy at beginning of the day. Ice therapy at the end. Use a moist heat pad or an ice pack that conforms to your foot.
2. Use arch support in your shoes, especially for flat feet or if you already have a bunion or twisted toes on one foot that look different from your other foot.
3. Strengthen the arch in your foot. Lay a pencil on the ground under the knuckles of your bare toes. Curl your toes down grabbing the pencil and, while keeping your entire foot on the ground at all times, work to draw your arch upwards. Or in other words, move the knuckles of your toes and the pencil curled underneath closer to your heal. If you feel some tightening in your arch…you are exercising the right muscle.
4. Choose good shoes. Generally choose a flat sole on your shoe – meaning a sole where the heal portion is not much thicker than the portion of the sole by the toes.
5. Realign your big toe. Place a rubber toe spreader between your big toe and the toe next to it overnight, while you sleep. This will help to separate the large toe from the others and help to realign it during the long period of time you are not on your feet.
6. Loosen your foot joints and relax the supporting foot muscles. Do this by pulling your big toe straight (not trying to line it back up where it should be, just straight out very gently, then let go…do this a few times). Follow by massaging the bottom of your foot as well as your lower leg muscles for 5 minutes with deep comfortable strokes.
7. Foot adjustments and body alignment. Make sure your joints keep moving fluidly with chiropractic foot adjustments and most importantly, whole body adjustments for all over pain relief. We do this in our office.
8. Stretch the bottom of your feet, also called the plantar fascia. This tough connective tissue can tighten and cause the bones and joints in the foot to hurt. Stretch your toes back towards your knee and hold for a minute at a time or roll a golf ball under your foot firmly for at least 5 minutes on each side.
9. Consider taking a glucosamine chondroitin supplement if you have severe joint pain. The dose recommended to be effective is 1500 mg glucosamine and 1200 mg chondroitin.
10. Move to an anti-inflammation diet to decrease the joint irritation and swelling that can lead to arthritis. Get plenty of vitamin E, C, and flavonoids in your diet. Eat more vegetables, nut oils, yellow grains and cooked beans (black, red, speckled) to load up on these antioxidants.

Just a little TLC each day will help you keep the toe pain away. Of course, it can be more difficult than this and everyone has unique conditions happening within their own body. We help clients regularly manage their foot, ankle and knee pain and get to the bottom of what’s causing it.
One easy exam is all it takes to start getting help for your painful feet and toes.

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