August 1, 2006
Dr. Jerry Singh
Dr. Jerry Singh
Recently, I have been asked many questions about custom-made orthotics.
Before we talk about orthotics let’s talk a little bit about our feet.
It is important to understand that your feet have a direct impact on the rest of your body and support you with each step.
Any small abnormality or disturbance in your feet can have a significant impact on the rest of the body causing pain and discomfort.
Step by step
When you are running, the pressure or force on your feet increases by three to four times your body weight.
It is estimated by researchers that the average person takes 8,000-10,000 steps a day.
This will add up to about 115,000 miles in a life time or more than four times the circumference of the globe!
In addition, 25% of the bones in our body are located in our feet. Our feet are made up of a complex system of 52 bones, 66 joints, 214 ligaments, and 38 muscles and tendons.
It should be no surprise to you to hear that 75% of the general population will experience foot problems of varying degrees at some point in their lives.
As you can see, our feet are actually a very delicate and complex system.
Therefore, it is very important for us to protect them by selecting the proper footwear.
The best way to do that is to consult with an expert for the best brand and model for your particular foot.
Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind when you are selecting your shoe:
When shopping for shoes make sure you go in the afternoon as feet tend to swell throughout the day.
Also, bring the proper socks for the style of shoe you are buying and if applicable, bring your custom made orthotics.
Shoe sizes vary based on shoe make and style, hence do not always assume you will have the same sized shoe every time.
Alright, now that we know a little bit about our feet, let’s now talk about custom made orthotics.
Custom orthotics are corrective devices made to assist a foot that has failed biomechanically.
Orthotics are made to control abnormal function, re-establish proper weight distribution and improve overall biomechanics.
Many biomechanical complaints such as heel pain, arch pain, shin pain, achilles pain, flat feet, knee pain, and lower back pain are caused by poor foot function.
Therefore, orthotics re-align the foot and ankle bones to their neutral (natural) position, thereby restoring natural foot function.
Custom orthotics are made using a state-of-the-art manufacturing system.
After your clinician has performed a postural and gait evaluation, a neutral position foot mold is taken.
This mold is then sent to a lab where a positive cast is produced. This positive cast is made out of thermal plastics, which are vacuum heat molded to increase strength and durability.
In my clinic, the most common question I am asked about orthotics is “I don’t feel any pain in my foot. Do I need orthotics?”
The reality is many clinical conditions can be present without any obvious foot problems.
Subtle imbalances in the foot are amplified as they go up the leg, knee, hip and back resulting in problems that may not have been properly assessed due to lack of biomechanical evaluation.
So as you can see, most people can benefit from orthotics.
Even if you do not suffer from any obvious foot pain, you may have some biomechanical problems later in life if left untreated.
How long do orthotics last? With everyday use, under normal conditions, you should get between one to three years of correction from your custom made orthotics.
Orthotic type, age, weight, and activity will play an important role in this issue.
– Dr. Christopher Singh, B. Kin., D.C., runs Trans Canada Chiropractic at 230 Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont. He can be reached at 888-252-7327, or email TCC@transcanadachiropractic.com.
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