Oct 2, 2010

Custom Made Flexible Orthotics

Hi Everybody,

This is my October Newsletter, which will discuss custom made, flexible orthotics.

Even if your feet do not hurt, they may be the major factor contributing to your health problems. Spinal-pelvic misalignment is the culprit. Pain in the hip, neck and lower back may be retraced to your feet. Custom made, flexible orthotics, called Shoethotics or Sandalthotics made by "Foot Levelers" may be part of the solution to your health problems.

Take this test:
1. Do you stand or walk on hard surfaces for more then 4 hours/day?
2. Do you participate regularly in any physical sport?
3. Are you age 40 or over?
4. Do your shoes wear unevenly?
5. Do you have joint pain while walking, running or standing?
6. Is one of your legs shorter then the other?
7. Do you have knock knees or bow legs?
8. Do you have obvious foot problems (bunions, corns, flat feet)?
9. Do your feet "toe out" when you are walking?

If you said yes to any of the above, you need custom made foot orthotics.
Your feet are the foundation of your body. They support you when you run, walk and stand. They help protect your spine and soft tissues from damaging stress when you move around. The foot is constructed with three arches which, when properly maintained, give exceptional support. These three arches support your body weight. If there is compromise to one arch in the foot, the other arches must compensate and are subject to additional stress that usually leads to further compromise.

By age 20, 80% of us have some kind of foot problem, and by age forty almost all of us do.

Pronation is considered the most common foot problem. In pronation, some of the bones in the foot drop to the less stable position because foot arches are too weak to keep them in the proper alignment. The arches may be stretched ("flat feet"),and stress on the entire foot increases. Another common problem that may be found along with flat foot-plantar fascitis, is irritation of the fascia- sheath of elastic tissue running on the bottom of the foot. If not treated, this condition may lead to development of foot malfunction and discomfort. Feet become tired, achy, or experience burning pain. If you have pronation, your feet often "flare outward" while standing or moving. Your Achilles tendons and kneecaps may be rotated inward from the midline of your legs, and shoes may have heel wear on the outside and look "run over".

Another very common foot problem is ankle pain. Among the body's major joints, the ankle is the most commonly injured. Torn ligaments and sprains are the most common injury in the emergency room of any hospital. An acute ankle injury results from sudden turning outward of the foot while supporting the body weight, or external force hitting the body from the outside.

Chronic ankle injury may develop over a period of time and be the result of unstable posture of the foot. This weakens the ligaments and increases the possibility of future injury.

A lot of knee pain is related to the foot problems. Other than the fact that knee pain may be caused by arthritis, any acute traumatic injury to the knee joint, pronation will contribute to the internal rotation of the bone or tibia. This will lead to misalignment in the kneecap and developing knee pain. This may produce hip and low back pain over period of time.

If you have some foot problems and your feet do not hurt, your foundation is already weakened and will cause problems in the future. To prevent neck, back, hip and knee pain that could be caused by foot problems, it is better to take care of your feet now.  What can be done? Your doctor will perform an exam, have x-rays done, and do some conservative treatments such as ultrasound, joints mobilization and therapeutic exercises. Supplementation and nutritional support may be helpful. But the most effective solution will be a combination of conservative treatment with spinal stabilizers, which are custom made orthotics for your feet.

Ask your doctor about good quality orthotics- custom made inserts in your shoes. They make your feet and you happier!

Dr. Natalie

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