by Chris Akey, DC
I was discussing lifestyle choices the other night with a few colleagues, and how so many people come to think that the more expensive a product is, the more it enhances a person’s status, reputation, or overall well-being. The conclusion we came to was that, while most people who thought the things they were buying would help them have a healthier, happier lifestyle, none really focused on health, prevention, and wellness.
I fell into this category when it came to shoes—as many of you probably do, too. As Chiropractors, we spend the majority of our time on our feet, so we want the best shoes and are willing to pay premium for them. I did just that; and while my feet were a little more comfortable during the day, at night they were sore and tired. My expensive shoes looked great (which is what they were designed to do), but they weren’t giving me the support I really needed to get through my daily “stand-up routine.”
If high-priced shoes weren’t the answer, what was? What about shoe inserts? I knew there were many different styles, but I wasn’t sure at first which (if any) was right for my needs. I needed more information in order to reach a decision.
After studying the literature of many different manufacturers, I decided to try a pair of custom-made functional orthotics that were designed to help stabilize and support my entire body, starting with the three arches in each foot. The company that made these custom orthotics offered impressive research published in peer-reviewed Chiropractic journals showing how their products helped to improve structural alignment and dynamic function, as well as reduce fatigue.
The custom-made products arrived, and they were truly amazing. My feet felt like they were on clouds from the time I put my shoes on in the morning until they came off at night. The satisfaction and stress reduction I experienced led me to the next step in my thought process: Could I recommend these products to my patients?
I was hesitant at first because I am a subluxation-based Chiropractor. But the more I thought about it, the more it made perfect sense to me. “Invest now for the future”—that is what we call prevention and wellness. It’s what we preach to our patients every day. I chose to walk the talk as I feel we should all do, and custom-made functional orthotics are a simple, effective, and very affordable investment for you and your patients. They totally belong in a subluxation-based office.
One of the major benefits I have experienced since recommending these products to my patients has been the holding of the adjustment longer. Have you ever had a patient who was “even” when he or she got off the table, walked around, and then was “uneven”? Then you got discouraged about yourself, your technique, or—worse—Chiropractic as a whole? What really happened was the asymmetry that the patient walked in with is the same one he or she will leave with if the asymmetry in the feet is not addressed.
An easy way to tell if there is asymmetry is to look for uneven shoe wear. Many times, I will point this out to a patient and he will say, “Oh, yeah—that’s been uneven for years.” And they still wonder why their feet, knees, hips, and back still hurt or are misaligned! Some other tests are low medial arches, bowed Achilles tendon, and foot flare during gait. One test I particularly like is, when scanning my patients with a surface-EMG and thermography, at the end it will tell me to examine the feet if significant asymmetry is detected.
As Chiropractors, our goal is to adjust the spine to remove and prevent subluxations and the ill effects they cause to our body. Another goal is providing your family, staff, and patients with tools that enhance what we do and provide that added “step” toward a healthier lifestyle. The right orthotic—the kind that supports the Chiropractic adjustment—fits into our vision of what Chiropractic can and ought to do. Benefits and results are what everyone wants, and one of the easiest and most affordable is custom-made functional orthotics.
About the Author
Dr. Akey has a practice, Life Family Chiropractic, in Farmington, Arkansas.