How a Foot Adjustment Helps Your Brain Work Better

Why are peo­ple so sen­si­tive or tick­lish on the soles of their feet? 

Why is a foot rub the most plea­sur­able (or most painful) part of a mas­sage?

The sole of your foot has a zil­lion nerve end­ings in it.  So do the joints of the foot and ankle.  That makes this part of your anato­my extra sen­si­tive.

foot anatomy

There’s a rea­son we’ve got all those extra nerve end­ings in the feet.

Did you ever hear an adver­tise­ment for an SUV that shifts its load from wheel to wheel in slip­pery con­di­tions?  Our brain per­forms a far more sophis­ti­cat­ed ver­sion of the same process all the time. When you stand or walk, your brain needs infor­ma­tion from the foot in order to con­trol your bal­ance and pos­ture.

A research arti­cle from 2007 describes how adjust­ing the foot improves your brain’s con­trol of bal­ance and pos­ture.

The study con­cerns field hock­ey play­ers, but the find­ings apply to any­one, ath­lete or not.  The researchers record­ed how peo­ple stood on their feet: what parts of the foot car­ried the most weight.  The ath­letes received a basic adjust­ment of the joints of the foot.  After­ward their weight-bear­ing pat­tern had shift­ed.  There was also improved brain con­trol of pos­ture.

I’ve had many expe­ri­ences work­ing with foot prob­lems of dancers, ath­letes, and ordi­nary peo­ple too.  Although the imme­di­ate rea­son peo­ple come to see me is a sprain or ten­donitis, I pal­pate the joints of the foot and usu­al­ly find that the under­ly­ing prob­lem is in the motion of the joints.  For­tu­nate­ly, this can be fixed.


About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods.

His website,, provides more information about his approach.

Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.

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