By: William M. Austin, DC, CCSP, CCRD
Over and over again, the weightbearing casting method has been shown to be the most reliable, accurate, and effective process for creating custom-made foot orthotics.
The question as to which type of orthotic is the best for your patients has been settled, too: Foot Levelers’ functional orthotics work best; they have been proven superior; they’re the most comfortable; and 73 out of 100 patients who wear them would recommend them to a friend.1
Why Weightbearing Works
Monte H. Greenawalt, DC, DABCO explains the success of and rationale for using the weightbearing casting procedure as follows:
“In explaining the casting procedure to your patients, it may be helpful to compare the method to repairing a flat tire. Note that a mechanic doesn’t put a car on the hydraulic lift to determine which tire is flat; it is apparent only in the position of function. Likewise, fallen arches or dropped metatarsals would not be evident if the foot were cast in a non-weightbearing position.”2
When the feet are flat on the ground, the body represents a closed Kinetic Chain. From a cast (Fig. 1) or electronic scan (Fig. 2) showing the foot in full contact, a skilled Foot Levelers technician can determine the amount of hyperpronation, plastic deformation in all three arches (Fig. 3), abnormal weightbearing, and foot misalignment. Plastic deformation is the process in which supporting connective tissues are stretched beyond their natural limits, creating permanent stretch. This is what happens to the feet with age and/or trauma. A weightbearing analysis records functional deformation, and orthotics or footwear made from that analysis provide proper fit and accurately represent arch placement when the patient is standing.
In his landmark text, Essentials of Skeletal Radiology, Terry Yochum, DC, says: “To prescribe the most effective [orthotic] support, use of a weightbearing casting method to obtain quantifiable information on the extent of pedal imbalance is recommended…This method also results in a more accurate fit, since the true length and width of the foot during the closed-chain stance are thoroughly assessed.”3
And John Danchik, DC, has written that a “professional examination including weightbearing casting of both feet will provide real-life, position-of-function information for use in constructing a corrective orthotic device.”4
Worth the Weight
The weightbearing, position-of-function method of casting method produces an orthotic which is superior to those made by the non-weightbearing [neutral] system. Custom-made, flexible orthotics are used to correct, support, align, and prevent dysfunction or improve function of movable body parts.5
Foot Levelers’ custom-made functional orthotics, such as the XP3™ sport orthotic (Fig. 4), have a positive effect on weightbearing foot alignment and the joints and structures above.
Improving the pedal foundation can have a very positive effect on the whole Kinetic Chain: the foot/ankle complex, knees, pelvis, and spine. Reducing biomechanical stress helps reduce pain and discomfort.
Foot Levelers’ orthotics not only improve biomechanical support, they are also highly rated for comfort and effectiveness. In a recent survey, 79% of patients wearing Foot Levelers’ orthotics were satisfied with them.1
Prescribing Foot Levelers orthotics is a proven asset to the growth of a Chiropractic practice.
1. Duarte MA, Cambron JA. Orthotic insole use and patient satisfaction in an outpatient Chiropractic clinic. J Chiro Ed 2004; 18(1):50.
2. Greenawalt MH. Spinal Pelvic Stabilization (4th ed.). Roanoke, VA: Foot Levelers, Inc., 1990; 35.
3. Yochum TR, Rowe LJ, Barry MS. Natural history of spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. In Essentials of Skeletal Radiology (2nd Ed.). Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1996. 364.
4. Danchik J. Foot stability and athletic performance. Sports Talk 1995; 8(3):35.
5. Levitz SJ. Biomechanical foot therapy. Clinics in Pod Med & Surg 1988; 5:3.
About the Author
An enthusiastic speaker, Dr. William Austin provides an energetic approach to learning. He draws from over 35 years of healthcare experience, which includes athletic training, emergency medicine, English bone setting, and Chiropractic. Dr. Austin has developed two successful practices. His patients range from newborns to centenarians, couch potatoes to professional athletes.
Dr. Austin is a 1986 graduate of Logan College of Chiropractic, and is currently Director of Professional Education at Foot Levelers, Inc. of Roanoke, VA.