IN THE REHAB ZONE

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Understanding Orthotics

Most people associate foot orthotics with, well, correcting foot problems. And although in many cases this may be true, the real benefits of foot orthotics, otherwise known as pelvic stabilizers, are the effects they have on the entire body. We all understand that feet are the foundation of the human body, they support us when we stand, walk or run. But our feet serve an additional function as a shock absorber that helps to protect the spine, joints and soft tissues from damaging stresses as we walk or run.

orthotics

The shock absorber mechanism of the human foot is provided by three functional arches, which when working properly, provide exceptional supportive strength. It is the strength in these arches that allow for normal movement as we move through the gait cycle.

(*The Gait Cycle refers to the three unique phases of walking or running, or what professionals refer to as “Gait”. The three phases are: Heel Strike, Mid stance, and Toe Off.)

Over time, our arches can lose structural integrity, either due to overuse, improper training or repetitive stress. The loss of arch integrity ultimately leads to a less functional foot. For most people this phenomenon presents itself in the form of over or hyper pronation of the foot, commonly called “Flat Foot”. Overpronation creates several biomechanical faults that must be addressed: internal rotation of the knees, pelvic imbalances, shoulder un-leveling and cervical tension and stress. These dysfunctions can be recognized while a person is standing still, but they are exaggerated as the person moves. This altered movement over time will lead to an entire host of problems.

Orthotics are designed to be worn comfortably inside of the shoe. Properly fitted orthotics support the foot to control unwanted pronation and supination, thus reducing the natural stresses on the human body. Orthotics stabilize the foot and encourage a natural movement pattern that results in less wear and tear on the foot, as well as normal function through the knees, hips and lower back. We like to refer to this as “Normalizing The Kinetic Chain”, essentially, improving normal human movements.

For questions, please do not hesitate to call me directly at 703-527-5492.

Dr. Booker @ Capitol Rehab of Arlington

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