Orthotics: Proper Foot Care
Issues in the feet can lead to many problems throughout the entire body. Often these issues can be resolved with the use of orthotics. These provide support and help change the mechanics of your feet, which results in better functioning of the lower extremities. At Hanson Chiropractic, we perform a complete exam to see not only how your spine and nervous system are functioning but also what other issues may be causing your pain and symptoms. If we feel that your feet are contributing to your symptoms and/or spinal issues, we may recommend high quality support orthotics to help fix the problem.
Orthotics, and the Importance of Our Feet
Considering that your feet withstand the pressure of holding your body every day, you may have a good idea of how amazing they are. They provide stabilization for your stance as well as movement and balance. Each foot is able to provide these functions due to its make-up of 26 bones, 7 ligaments, 32 muscles, and 58 different joints. Other remarkable information about your feet include:
- Your feet are able to withstand 1.5 times your weight with each step that they take. If you run, they carry three times the amount of weight. This equals millions of pounds of pressure on any given day.
- On average, each person will put their feet through 115,000 miles over their lifetime.
- Gravity is the powerful force that interacts with your foot, and is part of the reason you are able to stand upright.
Faulty Mechanics Lead to Malfunction
The design of each foot allows it to pronate (unlock) to absorb shock when it comes into contact with the ground, and then it supinates (locks) in order to move into forward motion. Unfortunately many people have flawed mechanics and are out of balance when it comes to these functions.
The majority of people have flat arches, which results in over-pronation. This prevents the foot from stiffening enough for proper forward motion. This leads to decreased force and a foot that is unable to create enough power. Fewer people have too high of an arch, also known as over-supination, which leads to increased pressure on certain areas of the foot. Malfunctions in the foot lead to a number of concerning problems. These include:
- Knee joint wear and tear: Caused by overpronation, the medial knee joint wears down and can result in arthritis of the joint.
- Feet problems: Flat feet lead to issues including corns, plantar fasciitis, neuromas, calluses, and bunions.
- Low back and hip issues: Everything in your body is connected, so when there is rotation in the foot, the leg also rotates which leads to problems in the hips and lower back.
At Hanson Chiropractic, we see many people with pelvic and low back issues that have been caused by foot malfunctions. Along with adjusting the areas to keep alignment correct, we also recommend orthotics for those who need them.
Benefits of Orthotics
An orthotic can be very beneficial for those who have abnormal foot mechanics. Orthotics are custom-made supports to help change the mechanical function of each individual’s foot. These orthotics are then placed in the shoe to help make continual changes during movement, such as running or walking, as well as when the person is standing still. Benefits include:
- Restored joint function
- Controlled flattening of the arch
- Reversed progress of malformation
- Improved function of the foot
- Surgery prevention
One of the benefits that our patients notice once they start wearing orthotics is that they begin to hold their adjustments for longer periods of time because there is less dysfunction in the lower spine. In fact, many professional athletes understand the importance of orthotics and use them to help improve their power, balance, and performance in their sport.
People with diabetes also find that orthotics are beneficial for common foot issues. When feet do not function mechanically the way they should, the pressure on certain spots can lead to dangerous ulcers. Supportive orthotics help distribute the pressure to reduce and relieve these ulcerations.