What is an Orthotic?
An orthotic is a supportive device, which 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 contact so that the foot works in a biomechanically correct way.
To date, only our custom made orthotics through Sole Supports manufacture full arch contact orthotics, calibrated to flex for your weight and foot type. The reason for this is simple: they are more difficult to make because they must actually change the way your foot works and need to be comfortable at the same time. Other orthotics are either just cushions or have a one-size-fits-all approach with poor arch support that is not customized to your foot.
These orthotics may feel fine but, by failing to actually change your foot posture and function, they will not prevent or alleviate the usual painful deformities or syndromes.
What are faulty foot mechanics?
The foot is designed to un-lock, or pronate, when it hits the ground for shock absorption and to conform to variable terrain. It then must re-stiffen (lock), or supinate for efficient leverage as it propels the body forward onto the next step.
When either of these phases are excessive or out-of-synch the foot has faulty mechanical function.
The majority of us overpronate, that is, our arches flatten too much (flat feet) and do not re-stiffen enough for efficient propulsion. About 48% of us are over-supinators with high, rigid arch structure, creating poor shock absorption and weight-bearing pressure concentrated in a few spots.
What kinds of problems result from faulty foot mechanics?
Pain and various types of deformities can arise in the feet when you have faulty foot mechanics. These issues range from bunions and plantar fasciitis to corns and hammertoes to name a few. Because foot function affects the entire chain of bones leading to the spine, pain and dysfunction in the knee, hip and low back often result as well. In all, there are over 30 common diagnoses related to poor foot function.
Can problems be prevented or corrected with Custom Orthotics?
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 or, at least, prevent surgery.
You’re probably wondering how this is accomplished. When you restore normal function you give your body what it needs to heal itself. A typical orthotic only masks your symptoms temporarily – until further deformity makes things worse. When you restore healthy foot function, other treatments or therapies are more effective and last longer.
How long will it take for my symptoms to go away?
That length of time it takes for symptoms to disappear depends entirely on the individual at hand. It also will depend on specific variables such as how advanced your condition is, flexibility of the deformity if one is present, age and general health – all affect symptom relief. For most people, significant relief is experienced within weeks of regular use; at most, it may take a few months.
The best results we have seen are when patients not only take advantage of custom-made orthotics, but also the chiropractic, rehabilitation and functional neurology services as well. When an integrative approach to your care is taken, you have a much higher chance of eliminating your symptoms quicker and more efficiently.
Can Custom Orthotics be used instead of prescription medication and/or surgery to alleviate pain?
Often times your custom orthotics can be a viable option other than medication and/or surgery – however this entirely depends on your diagnosis and several other factors. We prefer to take a collaborative approach to your care, working side by side with other specialists to ensure the best results for your treatment. At The Chicago chiropractor, Dr. St Jean utilizes a whole-body approach in conjunction with your custom made orthotics by treating not just your bones and joints, but also your muscles and soft tissues as well as your nervous system and brain. He accomplishes this by combining Brain Based Therapy, Chiropractic Manipulation, Therapeutic Exercise and Soft Tissue into a comprehensive treatment session aimed to correct the underlying cause of your pain and eliminate your pain quickly and effectively.