Over-the-Counter Foot Orthotics
Chiropractors have many tools at their disposal that they use in the journey of adjustments to help clients treat their condition. While regular chiropractic, and even massage care, can be important to maintaining alignment and health, what people do at home contributes to the overall efficacy of their therapies. Exercises, stretches, and proper ergonomics are all important. It is common for chiropractors to recommend exercises and stretches that are best for whatever ails the patients. Proper ergonomics are also helpful in preventing future injury. The chiropractor might even suggest some products that the patient may use to assist in maintenance.
Some products, such as Foot Levelers, might also be helpful. Regular orthotics can be purchased in many drugstores and grocery stores. Foot orthotics are special inserts that are placed in the shoe. They provide support and distribute pressure, while helping to align the joints during standing and other activities. They can help with symptom relief of pain caused by injuries, such as plantar fasciitis, or they could help to prevent foot ulcers in diabetics.1 Other types of injuries and pain that may be relieved by orthotic inserts include arch pain, ball of foot pain, heel pain, and achy/tired feet. Further injury might also be prevented with inserts or orthotics.2 Over-the-counter products can be made with various foams and gels, and in many different thicknesses. Some products are customized for the patient and the condition of their feet.
The Plantar Vault
The foot does not just have one arch—it has three. These three interconnected arches are called the “plantar vault”. The plantar vault includes the inner arch (Medial Longitudinal Arch), outer arch (Lateral Longitudinal Arch), and the area across the balls of the feet (Metatarsal or Anterior Transverse Arch).3 Strain and injury may be applied to any of these arches, such as when the arch between the ball and heel of the foot is excessively high or flat. Some patients are naturally born with arch problems and need orthotics, shoe inserts, Foot Levelers, and chiropractic care to help maintain wellness with their condition. Others might develop an injury from work, improper posture and habits, or other forms of repetitive stress, and these patients will also benefit from the same treatment options.
The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. It is a result of gradual degeneration or sudden trauma to the plantar fascia. The symptoms of pain tend to be at their strongest in the morning or after long periods of inactivity when the foot has naturally begun to tighten. Patients might find treatment and relief from chiropractic adjustments to restore joint function and tension reduction, Foot Levelers, and exercises for rehabilitation.4
What are Foot Levelers?
Foot Levelers are “stabilizing orthotics” that are designed to balance the feet.5 What makes this stabilizing orthotic device different from other types of orthotics is that they help to balance the body by supporting the arches via the “plantar vault” (all three interconnected arches of the foot). Over-the-counter orthotics and shoe inserts are generic and are not made specifically for the patient. Foot Levelers were designed with the idea that people would not have to take prescription medications or eyeglasses that were prescribed for someone else; therefore, orthotics should also fall under the category of medical products that are personalized to the individual body.
If the feet are in balance, then the pelvis and spine will be better able to maintain proper alignment, with less assistance needed from the chiropractor. Instead of just symptom relief, the patient could achieve overall stability and balance, significantly decreasing their chance of future injuries related to the feet. For many, this could be the key to a better, happier, more healthy life.6
Foot Levelers “support the more than 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments in your foot”. Additionally, they help the feet support the many bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that make up and hold together the rest of the body.7 Foot Levelers provide shock absorption and come in a variety of materials to fit into different types of shoes. They are also designed for the individual patient’s foot and for the various activities that the patient participates in. Different Foot Levelers can be used for dress wear, day-to-day use, or active sports.8
Breaking in the Foot Levelers
Once the Foot Leveler is sized for the patient and shaped properly to the shoe, it takes time to “break-in”, the same way that many foot-related products do. Patients should wear them only 3 hours a day at first, in order to get used to them. There may be “mild discomfort” at first, as patients adjust to the new support. This is normal; it can take up to 45 days to break them in fully.9 Inserts are not the only option with Foot Levelers. There are many shoes that have support built right into them. Foot Levelers has “teamed up” with many varieties of footwear. Patients can look into which product; Foot Levelers inserts or shoes, work for their lifestyle and budget.10 Some chiropractic offices might offer to provide assistance and recommendations for clients in their search to find the right Foot Leveler for them.
Find out more about ball of foot pain.