Foot and Ankle: Alternative Treatments
Healing the whole person
Many alternative treatments are designed not only to heal problems of the ankle and foot, but to also heal the whole person through a range of traditional and non-traditional approaches. These alternative options do not compete with traditional surgical, pharmaceutical and physical therapy treatment options. Instead, the goal is to find the combination of approaches that works best for you, your family, your condition, and your particular circumstances.
Alternative treatment options that may supplement familiar, Western medicine-based techniques include acupuncture, chiropractic and massage.
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat a broad range of physical and medical conditions. Acupuncture follows the theory that energy, called chi or qi, flows throughout the body along energy pathways called meridians. Chinese medicine practitioners believe acupuncture unblocks and rebalances the flow of chi to restore health. Acupuncture involves the painless insertion of tiny, sharp, sterilized needles into the skin.
Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches. Chiropractors practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.
Rehabilitative massage is a combination of several massage and manual therapy techniques that together can create functional improvements in soft tissue conditions and injuries. Some of the known clinical effects of the therapeutic massage include promotion of fluid exchange (blood and lymph) to increase oxygenation of the tissue; increases in new tissue cells to promote repair and healing of injuries; strengthening of weak muscles and normalizing of muscle function; mobilization of restricted joints; and promotion of normal neurological function in soft tissues.