As chiropractors, every day we treat people experiencing pain in the back. Patients frequently attribute this discomfort to a wide range of factors, but one that is both typical and commonly ignored are the feet and how they affect how you feel in other parts of your body. It is important to understand concepts of foot mechanics to understand orthotics. We will also take a look at some of the research out there that shows how custom orthotics can assist with pain, and also to prevent pain from taking place in the first place.
Just as steel and metal girders make up the structure for the highest of structures, your feet comprise the structure for your body. When something fails at the structure, the rest of the structure is influenced. By keeping your foundation strong and in alignment you are able to take the tensions off other parts of your body including knees, hips, and lower back.
There are a few methods to test how efficiently your feet are behaving. Of all, listen to what they inform you. Are you experiencing pain? If so, when? Early in the early morning as you step out of bed? Or after strolling for 5, 15, 20, or Thirty Minutes? Do you have back pain, knee discomfort, or hip discomfort? Do you sprain your ankles regularly? Take a look at the wearing pattern on your running shoes. Do your feet have calluses on them? All these are exceptional questions to ask yourself, and if you do experience any of the above signs, it’s a smart idea to obtain things checked out.
In my workplace, I do a range of things to examine the mechanics of the feet. Observing the height of the arch and how it behaves as you walk, is a great indicator of how the foot is running. This can put more anxiety on one foot with regards to the other.
Another excellent thing I do is analyze your feet through something called a Gait-Scan. Gait-Scan is a technology whereby it takes pressure information from your feet as you base on a force plate. The data obtained from the Gait-Scan can assist to determine more specifically, how pressure is distributed throughout the feet, and the extent to how the arches are behaving. This details can then be utilized to precisely customize orthotics to your foot and its specific requirements.
Keeping your foundation strong is important in order to be pain-free and to prevent pain and issues from occurring in the future.
An “optimal foot” acts as a foundation by providing adequate shock absorption and uniformly distributing forces that take place when we walk. In an optimum gait, the foot behaves in the following manner:
- Heel strikes the ground on the outside
- Transfer weight from the heel to the forefoot
- Foot will roll in inwards (pronation).
- Weight is dispersed equally throughout the forefoot.
- Rolling inwards motion is the way that the body naturally takes in shock. This is the most ideal, reliable kind of gait.
- Overpronation Vs. Supination.
Over-pronation and supination are behaviours of the feet where either the ankle rolls inward excessively (collapsed arches) or the ankle does not roll in sufficient (high arches), respectively. I identify these extremely common foot behaviours daily and can create custom orthotics that put your feet in the most optimum alignment.
A supinator’s foot will certainly not roll far enough when transferring weight from heel to forefoot unevenly distributing the weight across the forefoot. A person who supinates tends to put on down their running shoes on the lateral (outdoors) side of the shoe to the rear of the shoe in the heel area.
When your foot over-pronates, or supinates, extra stresses are put on the ankles, knees, hips, and low back. Eventually, these structures tend to give out and pain can take place as a result. Keeping your feet in balance can handle and avoid discomfort from taking place.
What Conditions Can Take place As a Result of Poor Foot Mechanics?
- Meta-tarsalgia– discomfort in the forefoot.
- Neuroma– swelling of nerves of feet.
- Achilles tendonitis.
- Plantar Fasciitis.
- Shin Splints.
- Knee conditions (various).
- Low pain in the back.
Custom-made foot orthotics are devices that are specialized insoles that are utilized to remedy the mechanics of the feet, putting them in a more optimum position. The can be included into the shoe straight, or be portable in which case they can be moved from shoe to shoe.
There are lots of different modifications that can be made to orthotics depending on how the foot acts. People who have metatarsal discomfort (or discomfort in the ball of the foot), will certainly typically have an adjustment called a metatarsal pad included to the orthotic.
When your feet are in alignment, less tensions are put on other parts of the body, consisting of the ankle, knee, hip, and low back. Your body is functioning more optimally and this can help avoid pain from taking place in these areas in the future.
Orthotics will last about one year if they are being made use of on an everyday basis and looked after. They are normally covered by your insurance company.
Research on Orthotics.
In a 2004 research of 275 patients that had custom foot orthoses for over a year, most of subjects acquired in between 60-100 % relief of symptoms with just 9 % reporting no relief of signs. (Walter JH, Ng G, Stoitz JJ: A patient fulfillment survey on prescription custom-molded foot orthoses. JAPMA, 94:363 -367).
This 2004 article review mentioned that the proof recommends that foot orthoses produce reductions in pain and special needs related to plantar fasciitis (Karl B. Landorf, Anne-Maree Keenan, and Robert D. Herbert Effectiveness of Various Types of Foot Orthoses for the Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis J Am Podiatr Medication Assoc 2004 94: 542-549).
In a research study that measured pain relief in 64 topics with osteoarthritis in the foot and ankle, 100 % of the clients wearing orthoses had substantially longer relief of discomfort than those patients getting only non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Thompson JA, Jennings MB, Hodge W: Orthotic treatment in the management of osteoarthritis. JAPMA, 82:136 -139, 1992).
In a 2003 research study of 102 athletic patients with patellofemoral discomfort syndrome, 76.5 % of clients improved and 2 % were asymptomatic after 2-4 weeks of getting the custom foot orthoses (Saxena A, Haddad J: The effect of foot orthoses on patellofemoral pain syndrome. 93:264 -271, 2003).
In this 1999 research, subjects experienced more than two times the enhancement in reduction of discomfort, and for twice as long, compared to topics in a research utilizing traditional back-pain treatment. (Dananberg HJ, Guiliano M: Chronic low-back discomfort and its response to personalized foot orthoses. 89:109 -117, 1999).
Customized orthotics are excellent for your health and health and feel wonderful under your feet. Your health and body should have the best care possible.