It has been 13 years since I introduced manual foot therapy into my practice. I have experienced some gratifying patient outcomes with this technique. I was mentored in this technique by Dr. Rue Tikker, DPM. Manual foot therapy is combination of foot joint mobilisations and manipulations that can provide pain relief without surgery or drugs!
Foot mobilisations and manipulations are very successful at freeing up motion in a stiff osteoarthritic joints. There is some success with neuroma pain. Foot mobilisations and manipulations employs the idea that a perfect foot structure is not needed in order to walk comfortably. Instead, patients need enough motion in several key joints. After two and half decades of watching people walk, I have observed how your foot can compensate for lack of motion and/ or structural problems in your foot. These problems can be relieved either by balancing or stabilizing your foot in the shoe with an custom foot orthotic or by mobilising and manipulating foot joints to get enough motion in a stiff part of the foot. The mid-foot joints control the motion of the joints in the front of the foot. When the stiffness is released in the mid-foot joints there is a noticeable difference in the ability to bend the toes in the ball of the foot and walk more freely. Exercises that promote muscle flexibility will help to keep joints from becoming stiff.
Manual foot therapy is a long established technique that manually sets the bones of the feet and ankles in their proper position along with starting a free flow of fluid through lymphatic channels to promote healing.