Effective | Non-Surgical | Drug-Free | Pain-Free
Effective | Non-Surgical | Drug-Free | Pain-Free
The Importance of Foot Evaluations & Orthotics
Here at Olympic Spine & Sports Therapy, we know that good posture and joint health begin where the foot meets the ground. Like the foundation in the building of a new home, our feet are our foundation to build upon good biomechanics above that foundation. Assessing your feet for biomechanical defects and assessing your gait (walking pattern) are the foundations for establishing a treatment plan that helps you live a happy and healthy life. Our foot evaluation process helps us determine whether an orthotic device would be a valuable part of your overall success with your treatment plan.
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A Better Look at Feet
The Human Foot
The foot is a biomechanical marvel made up of 26 bones, 58 joints, 7 ligaments, 19 intrinsic muscles, and 13 extrinsic muscles all working together in concert to provide balance, stability, and locomotion.
Amazing Foot Facts
- The foot is the body’s interface with the most powerful force that affects our body – GRAVITY!
- The average person takes 15, 000 steps / day – 115, 000 miles in a lifetime – enough to circle the planet four times.
- 1.5 times our body weight passes through our feet each step – up to 3 times if we run. The feet of an individual 130 pounds absorb 195 pounds of pressure with every step. The impact reaches about three million pounds of pressure each day.
What are Faulty Foot Mechanics?
- The foot is designed to unlock, or PRONATE, when it hits the ground for shock absorption and to conform to the terrain.
- Then it must re-stiffen (lock), or SUPINATE, for efficient leverage as we propel ourselves forward onto the next step. Sixty percent of the forefoot load must be born by the great toe area for normal joint function.
- When either of these phases is excessive or out of sync, the foot has faulty mechanical function.
Faulty Foot Mechanics
- Over 95% of us OVER-PRONATE, that is, our arches flatten too much (flat feet) and do not re-stiffen enough for efficient propulsion.
- A foot that has to fall to hit the ground is a much less effective foot. Energy and force is lost through excessive pronation, the foot is floppy and mushy and compromised in creating power.
- About 4% of people are OVER-SUPINATORS with high, rigid arch structure. Then the problem is poor shock absorption and weight bearing pressure concentrated in a few spots
What Kinds of Problems Result from Faulty Foot Function?
- Flat feet transfer many biomechanical disadvantages up the kinetic chain and a majority arise in the feet such as bunions, calluses, plantar fasciitis, neuromas, and corns.
- Pronation causes early wear and tear in the knee joints. Most commonly the medial joint space wears out and early signs of degenerative arthritis is very common.
- If the lower leg rotates inward, the hip follows it. In excess, this can cause hip and low back problems.
What is an Orthotic?
- An orthotic is a supportive device that is placed inside footwear, to change the mechanical function of the foot.
- It works dynamically during weight-bearing activities like walking, running and standing.
- Ideally, it should provide full, custom, and corrected arch support so that the foot works in a biomechanically correct way.
- An orthotic controls the excessive flattening of the arch, thereby restoring normal bone and joint function.
Can Orthotics Prevent or Correct my Problems?
- YES. If the problem is caught early enough, pain and deformity can often be prevented. Regular use of these unique orthotics can often reverse deformity development and prevent surgery.
- vHOW? Because when you restore normal foot function you give your body what it needs to heal itself. It will also help hold your adjustments longer thereby, making them more effective.
Knee, Hip and Lower Back Pain and Dysfunction
Since the foot is the base of the lower kinetic chain, abnormalities here will translate up the leg, which will affect the pelvis. The pelvis is the base of the spine and enormously influences it’s function. With over-pronation of the foot, an abnormal torque at the ankle causes excessive internal rotation of the lower leg. This ultimately results in an excessive lordosis of the lumbar spine with pathological consequences – early degenerative changes.
Improves Balance, Coordination and Performance
- Professional Athletes: The Denver Broncos, The New York Yankees, Andy Roddick and Tiger Woods are just a few of the many athletes who use orthotics to help improve their sports performance, balance, and power.
- Diabetic Foot: Reduces shear forces and pressure points that helps avoid ulceration (where a non-diabetic foot would have a callus)
For further information or to set an appointment for evaluation to see if orthotics would benefit you and your specific concern, please call our office to schedule an evaluation and consultation.