Can a jaw injury contribute to metatarsalgia?

by Lynn
(Los Angeles)

I was hit hard on my right jaw decades ago and noticed that whenever I have pain or other localized health issues, it's always on the right side. All tightened muscles are also on the right side. I have an inflamed nerve between my 2nd and 3rd metatarsals. When I get any kind of massage or realignment such as at the chiropractor or simply spreading my second and third toe, my jaw relaxes and I hear cracking/popping sounds. I have to wonder if the issues on the right could be related to the jaw injury.

However, my body parts are slightly smaller on the right as well--feet, face, etc. It's not noticeable to others unless I point it out, but it's measurable. Curious about the potential connection. The xray of my foot show the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bones very close together, practically touching on my right foot.

Hello Lynn,
My initial reaction is to deny any relationship, but you obviously convinced, so I hesitate to poo-poo your question. The foot is connected to the leg, the knee, the hip and so on. So a guarded, yes, maybe.

Does your chiropractor work on your feet? What you are describing is a condition called metatarsalgia, with possibly a Morton's neuroma; they usually respond quite well to adjustments to the foot bones.

Try our alphabet exercises which you'll find using the search function at chiropractic help.

Thank you for your interesting question.

Dr B

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Jul 24, 2016
Jaw injury related to foot problems?
by: Anonymous

Thank you. I can only say that my jaw involuntarily relaxes on the right side whenever any right side knots or my metatarsal are manipulated it massaged. It's just a fact, and I'm interested in discovering the reason.

I don't currently see a chiropractor, but I have in the past. They knew about the foot condition, and it didn't improve under their care. However, after seeing that the 2nd and 3rd metatarsals were jammed up against eachother on an exray, I recently began speaking those 2 toes several times per day and sometimes placing a small pad between them to keep them from being too close. When I initially misremembered the problem as being between the 3rd and 4th and spread those, it got worse. So working with the correct toes made it a lot better. Also, simply putting my fingertips under the right side of my for foot amd pulling up a little to help spread the metatarsal helps immediately.

I'm going to experiment with relaxing my tight right jaw to see if that also helps my foot. ND I'm going to start wearing clean supportive padded shoes inside the house rather than going barefoot as ll the time to keep the floors clean. I'd like to add a shoe liner/orthotic and am trying to figure out which is best.

I'm also probably going to start getting weekly Thai massages to see if those help overall. Reluctant to give up coffee, but wondering if the caffeine can aggravage the tension. I do wear a dental night guard as I started clenching and grinding after that injury.

In the long run, if something works, that's all I want. I am willing to try everything at once and just drop things one by one to see if things get worse if I do. I'd rather do that than just try one thing at a time to see if it works. So far, the thing that works most is to spread those two toes and wear padded, supportive shoes. Also, I sit cross legged a lot with my knees resting on my forefeet and that compresses them side to side. So wearing shoes with a wide toe box prevents this.

A chiropractor I was previously seeing for a different injury advised me that having treatment on the jaw could possibly end my clenching and grinding. I'm going to try to find one who specializes in TMJ and see if that affects the foot.

You'll also find TMJ exercises at Chiropractic Help; use the site search function. It's always good to take responsibility for one own health; sometimes though professional help is needed and then, the longer you put it off, the more difficult it gets.

Dr b

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

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