When you walk on an incline, you place more mechanical stress on your body, specifically your feet, ankles, calves and back muscles. Treadmills sit at inclines to increase resistance, burn calories and enhance muscle tone. Unfortunately, while treadmills can help improve cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health, they can cause painful back and foot conditions.
Walking frequently on inclines, whether the incline is a treadmill or a hill, may provoke development of plantar fasciitis, an inflammatory disorder affecting the plantar fascia tissue connecting toes to the heel bone. Tissues can suffer tearing or straining due to excessive weight bearing exercises like treadmill walking, jogging and running. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Sharp, intense pain extending along the bottom of the foot
- Inability to bend your toes upwards and towards the shinbone without pain
- Worsening pain when standing or sitting for long periods
Your chiropractor treats plantar fasciitis with special physical therapy exercises designed to stretch and strengthen the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia tissue. These exercises also help stabilize your heel and ankle. Chiropractors sometimes recommend wearing arch supports to distribute pressure more evenly over your feet.
Lower Back Strain
When tendons or muscles are stretched or torn, pain, swelling and stiffness occurs regardless of where the tendons and muscles are located. Weight bearing exercises such as treadmill walking place excessive stress on lower back muscles and tendons, especially if it is repetitive and performed during lengthy workout sessions. Symptoms of back strain from walking on inclines are persistent pain, muscle spasms and difficulty standing up straight or bending.
Chiropractors treat lower back pain with adjustments to remove pressure off nerves extending out of the spine. Adjustments are one of the most effective chiropractic procedures that realigns spinal vertebrae pushed out of their proper positions by frequent treadmill walking and walking/jogging up hills.
A band of tissue attaching the heel bone to calf muscles, the Achilles tendon assists in ankle, foot and knee movement. When overextended, the Achilles tendon can become strained, swollen and painful to the touch. Achilles tendonitis pain is felt when pressure is applied to the bottom of the foot, such as when you stand or push the affected foot against the platform of a treadmill. If your calf muscles are tight prior to walking on an incline, this places additional stress on the Achilles tendon.
To treat inflammatory Achilles tendonitis, chiropractors first reduce inflammation with Active Release Therapy (ART) and rehabilitation therapy involving strengthening and stretching exercises. Once inflammation has subsided, your chiropractor may recommend physical therapy, massage therapy or another chiropractic technique to restore Achilles tendon health and range of motion of your foot.
A basic neuroma is a section of nerve tissue that thickens and grows due to irritation and compression of a nerve in the foot. Intermetatarsal neuroma occurs when the neuroma develops between the third and fourth toes. However, neuromas can arise anywhere on the foot where nerves are aggravated by repetitive incline walking. In addition, people with flat feet, hammertoes or bunions are susceptible to intermetatarsal neuroma as well. Symptoms of this condition include numbness, burning, pain and a sensation that something hard is inside the shoe.
Treatment for intermetatarsal neuroma include orthotics, avoiding treadmills or other incline walking, wearing shoes with wider toe boxes and active release therapy provided by your chiropractor.
Following chiropractic treatment for back and foot pain due to treadmill use, you may reduce your risk of suffering recurring conditions by standing completely upright while walking on a treadmill or using handrails to help maintain good posture. If foot and back pain return, you may need to stop using an inclined treadmill. Your Geaux chiropractor will discuss options for weight-bearing exercises if treadmill walking continues causing musculoskeletal pain.
Call Geaux Chiro today to schedule an appointment for immediate relief of back or foot pain.