To Your Health
January, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 01)
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Flexible, custom-made orthotics are designed specifically for spinal stabilization. They help your foot maintain its normal position and control foot function.

This only can be accomplished by supporting all three of the foot's natural arches. A gradual weakening of the arches often occurs naturally after years of standing, walking and wearing shoes. The goal of stabilization is to control - not restrict - motion within your foot structure. Flexible, custom-made orthotics can enhance the structure and performance of your foot's three functions, as described in the sidebar at right.

The most effective stabilization is based on two principal considerations: the amount of imbalance in your weight-bearing foot, and the degree of physical stress created by your occupation or lifestyle. Evaluating both of these factors allows your chiropractor to prescribe the stabilizing support level that will most effectively address your individual needs.

Pair of work boots standing at work site. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark If you are experiencing a loss of spinal stabilization, your imbalances can easily be corrected using orthotics that are custom-made for each of your feet. A weight-bearing cast or digital scan provides the most accurate image of your foot for prescribing a stabilizing, custom-made orthotic. Your body's movements and forces on your musculoskeletal system can only be observed in a standing position. If your body is evaluated in a non-weight-bearing position, vital information regarding your foot function is lost. A flexible orthotic, made from a weight-bearing cast or scan, allows your foot to be supported, not "crutched." The resulting foot balance allows your body movements to function properly.

Your doctor can assist you in determining the extent of your imbalance (in your foot, pelvis and/or spine) and physical stress levels. If you are experiencing a loss of spinal stabilization, your imbalances can easily be corrected using orthotics that are custom-made for each of your feet. Sore or tight muscles; muscle or joint pain in the back, neck or extremities; poor foot function; and sore or tired feet are just some of the indications of loss of spinal stabilization. Ask your doctor to examine your feet if you are experiencing these or similar problems.

Your feet are foundational to the functioning of your entire musculoskeletal system. Spinal stabilization is the first step in spinal health. Your doctor can provide additional information specific to your needs.

1. Support. Over time, the effects of gravity upon a normal weight-bearing position will weaken the tissues and stress joints in your feet. Custom-made orthotics help reduce body-weight stress and strain by supporting proper joint position and reducing excessive motion.

2. Locomotion. When your foot hits the ground during the normal gait cycle, a series of responses occurs along your body's kinetic chain. Excessive pronation due to structural or functional abnormalities is responsible for more chronic postural problems than any other foot disorder. Flexible orthotics can control both the degree and duration of pronation.

3. Shock absorption. Heel-strike shock generates forces reaching five to seven times your body weight. Normal pronation relaxes the foot to absorb some heel-strike shock directly, and decreases the angle between the bones at your knee joint to help protect your spinal/pelvic structures from extreme shock. When you have excessive pronation, this protective mechanism breaks down, resulting in excess shock transmission to your spine. By controlling pronation, custom-made orthotics enhance your body's natural shock absorbers.


Brian Jensen, DC, is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and Palmer College of Chiropractic. He specializes in structural biomechanics and has been in practice for 17 years.



 




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