Thursday, February 17, 2011

Structural Foot Correctors

Many times a patient will present to our office with one or more symptoms that are very incapacitating.  They have usually tried a few different things to rid themselves of these symptoms and they're typically  at a loss as to why they continue to suffer.  More times than not, there is a primary structural condition that has never been addressed and therefore they are on a merry go round of treatments and ongoing symptoms.  A very common example is back pain.  I look at "back pain" as a big umbrella and underneath it there are various reasons as to why someone might be experiencing this.  Structural imbalances within the skeletal system can be the primary cause, but where did it start?  This is why we look at the WHOLE body for answers and not just the site of pain.  For example, the foundation for our body in the standing position is the FEET.

Structure Dictates Function...

The foot is designed to un-lock, or pronate, when it hits the ground for shock absorption and to conform to variable terrain.  Then it must re-stiffen (lock), or supinate for efficient leverage as we move ourselves forward into the next step.  When either of these phases are excessive or out of synch, the foot has faulty mechanical function.  Most people over-pronate, that is, their arches flatten too much (flat feet) and do not re-stiffen enough for efficient forward movement.  A small percent of people are over-supinators with high, rigid arch structure.  This leads to poor shock absorption and the body's weight becomes concentrated in a few spots.  A healthy arch acts like a spring.

What if you have one good arch and one bad?

  • This is very common and will lead to a couple of things. First the function of that one foot will be poor as described above. 

  • Secondly the faulty structure, arch, will lead to imbalances in structure in the knee, hip, pelvis, and spine.  Its a chain reaction!  (Add song here, foot bone is connected to leg bone, the leg bone is connected to the hip bone,.... ) Again this is where a complete structural exam will uncover all the structural faults and only then can we determine a thorough customized corrective treatment plan.  This is also why Structural Foot Correctors are prescribed in our office to complement the other structural rehabilitation procedures and give the patient the best chance to correct their spine and structure.

What are Structural Foot Correctors?

Well, they are not some generic insole that you get at the pharmacy that looks comfortable and supportive from inside the box. Many times these sort of insoles feel comfortable, but in reality they do nothing to change the structure of your feet.

They are most likely not the ones your podiatrist custom made for you either.  Although many podiatrists, PT's, and DC's are starting to use this style of foot corrector, at last check, we are only one of four offices in a 50 mile radius that uses them.  The majority of medical studies have shown that standard custom orthotics are no better or worse than off the shelf cushions.  This has not been the case for the Foot Correctors that we use.  It starts in the way in which the foot is casted (molded) and then  the foot corrector is made.  This is crucial to obtain the ideal arch height and foot shape.  They are calibrated for your weight, foot flexibility, and activity level; not to mention they are also made with top quality materials that will last over time.  This allows for better foot function as well as actually changing your foot structure!

 How do you know if you need Structural Foot Correctors?

In our office, it starts with a consultation.  Then after reviewing your history and discussing how our office treatment and procedures work, we do a Structural Exam.  Some of the tests that we do that would indicate the need for foot correctors are the following:

  • A particular x-ray view is taken to determine pelvic imbalance and leg length inequality (anatomical short leg). 
  • A digital foot scan  is performed to view the integrity of the arches and compare left to right.  
  • Visual and digital tests are also performed to asses the alignment of feet, knees, and hips and how that affects the rest of your structure. 
  • Your gait (the way in which you walk) is reviewed to determine if your structure is causing functional problems. 
For more information call 781-826-5555 to set up a consultation.   Remember, its a conversation, not a commitment.

Have a Great Day!
Dr. Deane