Your feet are the foundation for the rest of your body. They support your entire body weight so taking care of them and making sure they are properly supported is incredibly important to you moving pain-free.
With this in mind, there are a number of reasons why orthotics can be a good idea.
The simplest definition of an orthotic is that they provide added support to the foot. They help the foot return to a more normal movement pattern with the ultimate goal of recruiting the right balance of muscles to work in conjunction with each other.
In an article from the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Benno Nigg, professor of biomechanics and co-director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Calgary in Alberta, states that even medical experts aren’t sure exactly how orthotics relieve pain or prevent injury.
“Orthotics can work and can have fantastic effects, but we don’t know how they work,” says Nigg.
One hypothesis is that orthotics correct skeletal alignment problems, though Nigg says there is no evidence to support that proposition. Rather than moving bones around, it is more likely that orthotics affect muscle activity, he says. Figuring out how they affect muscle activity — and how to correct activity that is causing pain or injury — could lead to more consistent prescribing of orthotics.
“Maybe we should not think of pushing the skeleton around, but rather about finding ways to give signals to the body to do the right thing,” states Nigg.
Dr. Michael Nirenberg, a podiatrist in Crown Point, Indiana states the basic function of an orthotic is to put the foot into a better position, which alleviates pain. If a muscle is strained or hurting, a properly chosen orthotic will do some of the muscle’s work for it, thereby reducing its workload and bringing relief.
“It’s crucially important that everyone should have their gait analyzed.” says Dr. Doug Lukinuk, D.C. at PTBO Chiro, who has discovered that patients wearing custom orthotics fabricated from a GAITscan analysis (a scan of the foot while it is in motion, or in “gait”) helps to improve overall posture and alignment.
This would include and is perhaps especially important for spinal health. “There is little doubt in my mind that years of walking or running with sub-optimal gait can lead to subluxation and damage elsewhere in the body.” says Dr. Lukinuk. The kinetic chain reaction from the feet through to ankles, knees, hips, and low back is improved with orthotics, pain symptoms reduce, and chiropractic efficacy is increased. “Essentially, if your gait is optimal, fewer mis-alignments and compensations arise in the rest of the body, thereby reducing pain and preventing problems.”
Need to get checked? You can contact us here and book your scan, or if you’ve experienced other problems like chronic pain, headaches, numbness and tingling, or prolonged symptoms that don’t seem to resolve, you can book a total evaluation here.
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