What are “normal feet”?
Have you ever thought about how your body is similar to the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Simple enough, if the base of your body is not properly supported, the rest of your body is going to be misaligned and can throw off your pelvis, which in turn will cause back pain! Studies have shown that only 10% of the world population, has what’s are referred to as ‘normal feet’. This means that they don’t need help to support a persons body weight.
Even if your feet are not hurting, they can contribute to your many other aches and pains. As you walk, and stand the way your foot strikes the ground impacts your knees, hips and back. The body’s biomechanics are extremely complex, and your feet carry your entire weight. The way that you stand and move has a lot to do with how the rest of your body feels. Each step you take causes shock that starts at your feet. You need to take the time with your physician or chiropractor and determine what your feet need, and what is causing your feet to have such poor support. An option that is widely popular is having properly fitted orthotics, which will allow your feet gain support and you will gain the ability to walk correctly again.
There are many ways in which your feet impact the rest of your body. Anywhere from ankle and knee pain, pelvis, hip and spinal pain. This happens due to a misalignment of the foot, which significantly alters the way in which the bones move within their joints.
Most people fall into one of three categories: a pronator, a supinator or a neutral.
PRONATOR: If you are a pronator, it means that your foot arch collapses when your foot strikes, and you are likely to have flat feet when standing. Ligaments become strained, and muscles overwork in attempt to pull the foot into a more stable position. This is the category that most people fall into.
SUPINATOR: If you are a supinator, you have really high arches and tend to put all of your weight out to the lateral (outside) edges of your feet.
NEUTRAL: If you are a neutral, it means your arches are fine and you move properly through your stride.
Pronators and supinator have problems with the way their joints move. This will impact their knees and lower back over time, as well as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and the fascia which holds everything together will get pulled in the wrong direction.
Being a supinator or a pronator means your knees rotate inwards or outwards, and will not be able to move with correct ‘arthrokinematics. If your knees no longer move properly, it will probably mean your hip joints are also moving improperly. In turn, if your hip joints are not properly moving, your ability to absorb impact from walking and running is severely reduced which puts extra strain on the feet, knees and back.
While walking or running, inflammation in your foots sole, called Plantar Fasciitis, can occur. To compensate, you may walk differently than usual, therefore irritating knee joints.
HOW DO ORTHOTICS WORK?
Orthotics work by controlling abnormal motion across the joints in the foot. They’re made based on an impression of your feet, so they fit perfectly, without feeling hard, or uncomfortable in your shoes.
Orthotics help to hold your feel, and mid foot in a more stable position, so they can function more efficiently during weight bearing and propulsion. This control is often accomplished by limiting abnormal pronation (if you’re a pronator). This is most common or supination (if you’re a supinator) of the foot.
They won’t change the underlying structure of the adult foot, so if you don’t wear them, abnormal function will eventually return. Orthotics are not just made for normal walking shoes, but can easily be made to suit your sports shoe, or work book. At Harmony Chiropractic, we do not encourage orthotics for a heel higher than two inches.
What an orthotic does is adjust your movement pattern to reduce some of the strain through your body. They help to evenly distribute weight to the bottom of the feet, and change how stress is distributed through the foot and ankle. In turn, this can change the distribution of force through your knees, hips and spine relieving pain. It is important to also learn the restore balance to the muscles and joints that are supposed to help your walk and run without pain or discomfort in the first place, and chiropractic care can help to do all of this!
What can orthotics work on?
Orthotics can work on various foot complaints, such as bunions, calluses and corns, heel pain and Achilles tendinopathy. As our feet are the foundation of our body, they will provide relief for back, hip and knee pain. However, if you need correction of your spinal alignment, your orthotics will take awhile to get used to. This is because your feet and legs have been functioning abnormally for a long period of time. Some initial discomfort should be expected, and it is recommended to gradually increase the length of time you wear them, rather than jumping right into them for an entire day.
Three signs that you may need to look into Orthotics:
Shoes Worn Down More: have a peek at the soles of your shoes to see if you are wearing out one side more than the other. If your feet roll in or your ankle turns out, the base of your shoe will have different levels of wear.
Foot Shadow: to see your “shadow” of your foot, get your feet wet and then step on something dry. This will show you what your arch is like, if it’s too high or flat.
Constant Pain in Feet/Back: this one is pretty self-explanatory. No one deserves to have back pain that could be fixed simply.
The some common conditions for orthotics are:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints
- Achilles tendinopathy
Orthotics are made of various materials, depending on what is trying to be accomplished. Rigid orthotics give the most stability and support. Semi-rigid orthotics gives stability while offering shock absorption. Soft orthotics provide cushioning. Dr. Harmony’s personal favorite for most patients is a semi-rigid orthotics. However, each patient has different needs, and requires the proper orthotic in order to obtain optimum results!
In order to get a truly customer made foot orthotic, a number of steps must be followed to formulate the correct prescription that will accurately address the initial foot complaint. A complete history, biomechanical assessment, gait analysis and non-weight bearing casts of the feet are taken. The process from start to finish takes approximately forty-five minutes. Most extended benefit insurance plans cover anywhere from $400 to $500 for orthotics and Dr. Harmony prepares all the required paperwork for the patient, including writing the patients prescription.
Where does Dr. Harmony get her orthotics?
Furthermore, Dr. Harmony only uses the best qualities, so they can be as comfortable as possible. This makes the adjustment to orthotics easy, and a joy to wear! She orders orthotics through a Vancouver, B.C based company called Kintec! They pride themselves on 100% custom made product, and never use pre-fabricated parts. Every pair of orthotics are truly custom for each patients feet. They offer a superior product, with amazing service and fast turnaround times! Kintec is a BAPFOL Certified Orthotic Manufacturing Lab, who believes in timeless quality of handcrafted products made by experienced professionals.
Once your orthotics arrive, Dr. Harmony instructs the patient how to properly insert their new orthotics into their shoes, and ensure they are a good fit. The average wear in period is approximately one month, where the patient slowly weans himself or herself into wearing them full time. Patients usually notice the full benefits of the orthotics in their joints anywhere from 3-6 months of wearing the orthotics full time!
A simple chat with your chiropractic doctor will inform you if orthotics are required.
Ensuring your pain is going away is Dr. Harmony’s priority, and having proper support under your feet helps keep you going!