Our Feet Are The Foundation For The Body!
From Dr. John: Obviously, I am not a 'foot doctor' (Podiatrist or Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) or a doctor who specialize in the foot. That said, I am extremely interested in how the foot/ankle area relates to the spine and the rest of the body. I check everyone for common functional foot/ankle problems which can contribute to problems in knees, hips, pelvis, low back and elswhere. We refer people to our podiatry colleagues when we suspect significant medical issues requiring further asessment. I often teach patients ways to strengthen their feet that are simple and effective.
I sometimes do chiropractic foot/ankle adjustments to help to restore improved joint alignment and motion. I give advice on footwear as well. In fact I made an entire YouTube Video about footwear! Watch the video here! While I am not a foot doctor (Podiatrist), I am NOT fan of rigid/hard orthotics (made of fiberglass or plastic) for most relatively-healthy, active people.
However, I often recommend high-quality, flexible, non-custom and custom-made foot orthotics. You do NOT have to be suffering from foot pain or have severe 'fallen arches' to benefit from high-quality non-custom and/or custom orthotics. The non-custom orthotics that I recommend and carry in the office are made by PowerStep Orthotics. These products are high-quality, helpful and inexpensive too.
If you want top quality, I have fitted hundreds of folks with Amfit Custom Foot Orthotics (These are my favorite- made of the lightest EVA materials available) orthotics with great results. Patients often report less pain (in foot/ankle, knees and/or back) and/or improved athletic performance! In fact, I wear them myself and I do not think I would still be running (since 1975) if it wear not for my custom, flexible orthotics!
In my clinical experience, custom orthotics (when properly made) are superior to 'over the counter' foot inserts. Lastly, when dealing with orthotics the clinician MUST look at the "big picture' and examine the patient 'above the foot'. I perform a thorough history and appropriate gait assessment and palpatory exam on the entire biomechanical structure and take xrays (if necessary) to assess for leg length asymetry. About 10-15% of my patients have some type of permanent functional leg length difference which requires the wearing of a small heel lift or creating orthotics that mitigate the leg length difference!!! Below is a pretty good summary of my philosophy regarding overpronation and orthotics. Click on the link below to learn more. Dr. John J. Collins