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Most “custom” orthotics are made based on outdated theories that do not significantly change foot function and do not take into account the demands of the modern athlete. Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, these orthotics usually end up as expensive soft cushions or hard-as-rock braces that are respectively either ineffective or too uncomfortable for aggressive use.
The truth is that our feet and our entire bodies are always changing: if we eat too much we get fat; if we don’t exercise we get weak; ageing changes everything; and gravity, body weight and the hard surfaces of modern living beat down our arches over time.
The 26 bones that give our feet structure depend on semi-elastic bands of connective tissue called ligaments to keep them together and nested against each other. Ligaments are very good at resisting short-term, forceful stretches but are susceptible to long-term stretches that make them longer and looser (like prolonged standing on hard floors). As the ligaments get looser, they can’t hold the bones together like they used to, so the arches and general structure of the foot slumps.
As the structure slumps closer to flat on the floor, foot function becomes abnormal. The foot will feel more fatigued in the early stages, then develop pain and/or deformities as the altered function causes progressive tissue damage.
Some people are born with loose ligaments and have flat feet as a child. Many people will have good arch structure as a child but will stretch out their ligaments as time goes on. Either way, your feet need good structure (posture) and function to stay healthy. Sole Supports™ were designed to give feet back their missing structure and to prevent any future loss of structure.
Time, in general, is not your body’s friend. But timely use of a pair of custom Sole Supports can beat time at it’s own game.
A foot orthotic needs to provide a rigid lever for propulsion while allowing for shock absorption and terrain adaptation. This need is only magnified in athletes. Whether you are on a bike, in running shoes, or in ski boots, your foot is always working on shock absorption and propulsion. To assist in these functions a foot orthotic needs to be properly calibrated to your weight, foot flexibility and activity level. Different athletes and sports require different orthotic sizes and properties, but all require the same biomechanical control and function. Currently, the Sole Supports™ foot orthotic is the only one on the market that addresses these needs.
Whether you are a competitive or recreational athlete, your foot is unique and requires specific calibration for the right mix of flex and rigidity.This is the real custom factor absent in standard “custom” orthotics. At Sole Supports, we have put the years into re-thinking and redesigning custom foot orthotics. We know how much extra work it takes to make a device that actually delivers on promises. We love it that we can offer a competitive edge to athletes that depend on powerful feet. We are the only orthotic company doing research at major universities to back up our claims of increased performance, and we are excited to have an increasing number of professional athletes who are using our device to gain a competitive advantage.
When your arches get flat, it will cause abnormal posture and strain in your knee, hip and back. How? All the joints of the leg and lower spine are connected in a continuous chain, so abnormal changes at any one link in the chain get transferred to all the other links.
One of the most common “abnormal changes” is loss of arch height. When the arch drops towards the floor it causes an inward twist at the ankle. The knee absorbs this twist and points inward. The hip absorbs this twist and rotates inward. The pelvis reacts to this change in the hip by dropping down in front which causes the low back to bow in more. All of these changes cause abnormal stress and strain at each point in the change —and they all started with a fallen arch!
At the knee the inside of the joint gets compressed and the knee cap moves out of alignment, both of which can cause arthritis. At the hip, the front of the joint gets compressed, also inviting arthritis. In the low back, the vertebra shift out of normal alignment so discs can suffer accelerated wear and tear or nerves can be compressed or the spinal joints can develop arthritis. All of these changes do not necessarily cause disease in and of themselves, but they definitely help promote it.
So there are many other reasons to make sure your feet function correctly besides avoiding foot problems. Good joint health, anywhere in the body, begins with good posture and function.
Pregnancy triggers a wide range of changes in a women’s body. The additional weight in the torso has immediate effects such as increased curvature in the lower back and a forward tilt of the pelvis. When a women’s center of gravity is altered, the weight bearing stance also changes. This can cause increased demand on the muscles of the hips, legs and ankles. These changes contribute to the characteristic posture and gait associated with the pregnant women.
There are two common changes associated with the foot during pregnancy. The first is an increase in volume or size caused by edema (swelling) and the second is an increase in size caused by a looseness or laxity of the ligaments that support your foot. This ligament laxity is caused by a hormone called relaxin which is the same hormone that is loosening the ligaments of the birth canal and pelvis in preparation for delivery. This hormone does not target only the birthing ligaments, it has wide ranging effects throughout the body. The ligaments that hold the 26 bones of your foot can be affected, and as these ligaments loosen the arch of the foot collapses or over-pronates. Since the levels of relaxin are elevated in early pregnancy, these changes can occur over a period of months.
The over-pronation associated with pregnancy is best treated with a truly custom, biomechanically correct foot orthotic. In fact, pregnancy provides an opportunity to address foot problems while your foot is malleable and able to adapt to a new position. Using the time while you are pregnant to support your foot in a new corrected position will allow proper functioning and decreased pain for years to come. A Sole Supports™ foot orthotic is calibrated to your weight and foot flexibility, two measures which are crucial to the foot during pregnancy and beyond. A Sole Support orthotic will support your arch more than any other orthotic, effectively raising your arch. This raising will cause a shortening of the foot as it is placed in its optimal position and may actually reduce the need for bigger shoes. Changing your foot posture can also help unwanted postural changes in the knees and lower back. These orthotics are adjustable by your practitioner, allowing the orthotic to be changed as your body changes during pregnancy. Early preventative treatment with an orthotic is crucial for avoiding the development of other foot problems associated with over-pronation and arch drop such as plantar fasciitis (heel pain), bunion deformities and metatarsalgia (pain around the ball of the foot).
When the arches of the feet slump, as most will at some point, they have negative effects on knee, hip and back posture. This is because, from the spine to the foot, all joints are connected and influenced by changes in any other joint in the chain. Fallen arches put a twist in the chain that effects everything up to the spine.
Since Sole Supports™ were designed to restore the proper arch height of the foot, wearing them can help improve the posture and health of the knee, hip and back as well.
Postural imbalances at any joint, especially ones that bear full body weight in standing like the knee, hip and spine, lead to excessive wear and tear that can cause arthritis or even disc degeneration in the spine. There are many other things necessary for healthy joints, such as good strength, endurance and flexibility, but using Sole Supports™ is an easy way to insure better joint health every day.
Contact ADIO Chiropractic Center today to schedule our FREE consult. We can cast your feet in-office and the turn-around time is approximately 2-3 weeks for arrival of the orthotics.