Why do I need orthotics?

Why do I need orthotics? What are orthotics used for anyway? Why would a chiropractor recommend orthotics?
There are a number of questions, let’s start with what orthotics are and what they’re used for.

Orthotics are custom made insoles for your shoes, designed to correct imbalances in your foot structures, muscles of the lower leg, protect against the forces of hard flooring on your feet.

Symptoms one might experience if orthotics are necessary aren’t limited to the feet, but include; foot, arch or heel pain, leg or knee pain, leg length inequality, hip or back pain even neck pain.

Foot orthotics work similar to braces for the teeth, or glasses for your eyes, they slowly and consistently place your foot structures in the correct position. We use orthotics in all kinds of footwear, even skates and ski boots!

I think I need orthotics what’s next?
During an orthotic examination I perform a static ( not moving) postural assessment, both weight bearing and non-weight bearing, to see how your foot reacts to supporting your body. I assess any mobility issues in the ankle or foot, check to see wear the forces stress the foot as shown in any calluses you may have. Next I have you walk several times in bare feet to assess your dynamic posture, do the toes point in or out, does the ankle roll in with walking?

Next I make a mold of your foot in special foam with you sitting, having your foot kept in the optimal position. The mold is then sent to the orthotic lab and analyzed. The orthotics are then ready in about a week or two.

I have my orthotics now what?
Initially you wear the orthotics an hour or two each day slowly increasing the time you wear them.

Wear them as much as you can , the more consistently you wear them, the better the benefit will be. Often we need to make 2 pair of orthotics to accommodate different kinds of foot wear, i.e. dress shoes vs. running shoes.

How does this fit with chiropractic?
Why as a chiropractor would I recommend orthotics?

Typically the answer is to either be reactive or proactive. If you are already having pain and there are structural or muscular imbalances that are contributing to your pain, orthotics may be part of the recovery process. If during our assessment process I discover some issues that may not be contributing to a pain process but have the potential to, I may suggest the orthotics as a preventative measure.

For more information go to https://yourpickeringchiropractors.cablog/
Or http://www.theorthoticgroup.com/PatientSite/Home.aspx

Why does my chiropractor care about my feet?

Why does my chiropractor care about my feet?

Why does my chiropractor care about my feet? Isn’t that what a podiatrist or chiropodist is for?
Another good question, why should a chiropractor care about feet?
There are several good reasons why as a chiropractor I am interested in feet. Most obviously, feet are the first thing that make contact with the ground and as such have a bearing on what occurs above them I.e, your ankles, your knees, hips and even your back and neck, areas you might expect me to be more interested in.

Why does my chiropractor care about my feet: Posture
If we take someone with flatter feet, meaning the arch on the inside of the foot is lower or absent altogether, this can cause the ankle to roll in when walking or running, causing more forces to be applied to the inside of the knee, tight muscles at the hip and weak glutes. This can lead to increased or imbalanced stresses at the lower back and other compensatory changes in the upper back and neck.

Why does my chiropractor care about my feet: Musculoskeletal conditions
A couple of common conditions we also see in the feet are plantar fasciitis and fat pad syndrome, these typically present as heel pain, either first step of the day or after rest( plantar fasciitis) or with prolonged activity (fat pad). These are conditions that as chiropractors we can easily manage and help educate the patient to manage at home. This might involve exercises for the muscles of the feet or lower legs, custom or off the shelf orthotics shoe inserts, heat or ice.

Why does my chiropractor care about my feet: Neurological conditions
Have you ever wondered why I may check sensation in your feet? I usually check 3 ways, with a very light touch using a tissue, with a sharp object ( paper clip or pinwheel) and lastly checking vibration sense with a tuning fork. Why do I do this? Checking three types of sensation checks three different pathways of the nervous system from the foot to the brain, a problem feeling these sensations tells me something about where the problem may be. Most often with someone with back pain it might mean that a disc is putting pressure on the nerves going to and coming from the feet. It might also be a sign that someone who is diabetic is having a worsening of their condition and are at greater risk of injury be it from lack of balance because they can’t feel the ground under their feet or from cuts to the feet or toes that may not heal well and cause ulceration.

I hope that briefly explains why a chiropractor might care about your feet.
If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, or show me your feet.
For other blogs go to https://yourpickeringchiropractors.cablog/

Running shoes, running, running injuries and chiropractic care

Running shoes, running, running injuries and chiropractic care.
I need new running shoes. At my family’s request to add more fitness options we purchased a treadmill to extend the running season as no one in my family ( sheepishly I include myself here) are too keen to be running outside in the snow, snow shoeing is an altogether different activity.

So the giant box arrives and my son and I assemble the beast. This was made more difficult than it needed to be by two Lego lovers who should follow instructions better.
That aside, I needed new running shoes. This for me is about as appealing as Christmas shopping, there are too many choices, too many features, most of which are not suitable for many people.

There had been a trend to minimalist running shoes, shoes that were barely there to benefit people who wanted to get in on the barefoot or toe running trend that had been prevalent of late. I am not one of those people, at 190+ pounds minimalist shoes are not for me and I have not trained myself to be a forefoot running person.
If in the market for new running shoes for the purpose of running I would recommend you visit a running specialty store at least to have a discussion of what type shoe or even brand of shoe works for you, also bring your old shoes with you for the sales associate to look at.

Simple tips that you can apply if you’re shoe shopping.
Arches- Do the arches of your feet rest on the floor when you’re weight bearing, i.e you have flat feet? Then a shoe that has more support on the inside of the shoe are better, how can you tell if a shoe has more support for the arch? Grab a shoe and try to wring it out like a dish rag, can you? This is probably not a shoe for you. More supportive shoes often have an insert of some other material in the arch area. Second squeeze the heel, can you squeeze the sides together or are they stiff? Stiffer shoes won’t allow your ankle to roll in as much keeping a more neutral position.

Weight-Are you like me and are a heavier runner, you might want a more cushioned shoe, when you run you are landing with a force usually 2.5 times your weight again and again, in a mile you make approximately 2000 of those impacts, so you can see how cushioning might play a role. Also keep in mind that the foam will deteriorate with time and impact so you probably need to replace those shoes more often, as often as every 3 months depending on mileage.

Try before you buy- Before you shell out big bucks, try the shoes out, go for a short jog in the store, wear them for a bit. If they’re uncomfortable in a few minutes they’re not for you.

Size-Get sized, just like women’s clothes, a size 10 from one manufacturer may not be the same as another.

Don’t shop by fashion, colour, brand or price.

What does this have to do with chiropractic? As I mentioned running puts a lot of force through your joints, from your feet all the way up the legs to the knees, hips and eventually your spine. Starting to run is a big change for your body. Injuries to runners occur when you make a change of more than 10% to any running parameter, distance, speed, stride length etc. As a chiropractor I can help your body manage this change and the forces inherent with running.
For my other blogs in this series or other topics visit here https://yourpickeringchiropractors.ca

Why does my chiropractor care about my bladder?

Why does my chiropractor care about my bladder?

“Why does my chiropractor care about my bladder? ” Recently while taking a history from a new patient, which included a review of various body functions, including bowel and bladder movements, the patient wondered aloud, “ I’m here for my back why do you care about my bowel and bladder movements”?

On the surface it may seem like an odd question from one who’s known for dealing with back, neck and other musculoskeletal conditions, but there’s a very good explanation , I swear.

Most lower back pain is what’s termed Non-specific Mechanical back pain. This type of back pain is very common and most of us will experience it at some point throughout our lifetime. This type of back pain is typically an injury to any one or more of lower back muscles, joints or ligaments. Here there is no involvement of the spinal discs or nerve involvement.

In some cases as I’ve described in previous blogs, the injury is to one of the spinal discs, or intervertebral discs. Infrequently one of these disc injuries causes compression to nerves that control sphincter muscles (muscles that open/close) of the bladder and bowel. This complication called “ Cauda Equina Syndrome” occurs in only 1-3% of disc injuries, mostly to men in their 40s or 50s who have had a history of chronic low back pain or who were born with a narrow spinal canal.

Thus this syndrome if present with lower back pain may produce symptoms related to bowel and bladder function and numbness in the saddle area ( the area of your body that would touch a saddle if you were riding a horse). Bladder symptoms could be things like, inability to stop or start a urine stream, the feeling of urgency for urination or incomplete bladder emptying. Bowel symptoms might include constipation, loss of bowel control or inability to feel when you need to move the bowel or that you have already moved your bowel.

This syndrome is a medical emergency and requires immediate surgery and even if a surgical intervention is performed some of the damage to the nerves may be permanent.

So there you have it, a pretty good reason for a chiropractor to be concerned about your bowel and bladder habits.
For more educational blogs not necessarily about bowel function go to https://yourpickeringchiropractors.caWhy does my chiropractor care about my bladder?

Disc Related Back Pain



What disc related back pain

What is Disc Related Back Pain?

This being my first blog, I wondered what to speak about, however today I saw someone who’s case while not uncommon gave me the motivation to talk today about low back pain related to a herniated intervertebral disc. What is disc related back pain?

What is disc related back pain?

Most back pain, close to 90% is what one would term, “mechanical low back  pain”, mechanical in the sense that it has as its cause a pain generator in  the muscles or joints of the lower back. This type of back pain while extremely painful and debilitating is uncomplicated and will resolve with treatment in less than 6 weeks in most cases.

Disc related back pain is another matter. The intervertebral (spinal bones) discs are located in between the bones of the spine, they allow for movement and if you imagine are like a jelly donut, firm on the outside and well jelly-like on the inside. In some cases with improper stresses, twisting while bending and lifting either in one event or repeated can cause a weakening of the outer wall of the disc and result in either a bulging outward of the disc or a rupture causing the jelly to come out.  Your body’s response to this injury will typically initially back pain, muscle spasm, you may look crooked, tipped off to one side, movement in any direction will be limited and painful. Days to a week or so later you may then start to have screaming leg pain down the back of one leg, this tends to be worse than the back pain.

Disc injuries can resolve on their own with conservative chiropractic treatment, the majority  in 12 weeks to a year. Your family physician may prescribe some anti-inflammatory medication and order a special test called a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) for a look at how the disc is impacting your nervous system. Regular x-rays  are of little use in a case like this.

Chiropractic treatment will help with pain control, muscle spasm and help to keep you moving. I will give you exercises to help with the pain as well. As a chiropractor I will also monitor your nervous system’s response to the injury and make the appropriate referral back to your family physician should the condition worsen.

Surgery is usually a last resort, but will help if the health of the nerve is compromised.

If you know of any one with back pain of any sort have them call for an appointment and get them some help.

Dr. Kevin Finn

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