- Training: Chiropodists receive four years of comprehensive education in diagnosing and treating all foot pain and problems, which includes exhaustive study in biomechanics, gait analysis, and prescription custom orthotics. Other providers typically receive from ½ day to two weeks of training in orthotics. Frighteningly, some receive no training at all.
- Breadth of practice: Chiropodists/podiatrists are not an orthotics “one trick pony.” They prescribe a set of orthotics only after taking into consideration your complete foot health and determining which approach or combination of podiatric medical approaches will relieve your pain and problems most quickly, effectively, and inexpensively over the long term.
- Technique: Chiropodists/podiatrists use an approach that is
considered to be the medical gold standard called “suspended sub-talar
joint neutral.” This is accomplished using a plaster cast or highly-precise
three-dimensional computer imaging along with the chiropodist’s/podiatrist’s
calculations and specifications to manufacture the orthotics in a
certified laboratory to rigorous industry-recognized standards for
excellence and durability. Remember, three-dimensional imaging is VERY
different from the step on computer pads, foam boxes, or other gimmicks
and shortcuts to create orthotics. Think about it. A computer pad, for
example, takes an image of your foot to create an orthotic in precisely
the unhealthy weight-bearing position that is causing your pain or
problem. Also, the image taken by the computer pad is extremely limited in
that it’s only two dimensional – measuring just length and width – while your
feet are most certainly three dimensional! Also, common sense applies here.
If this approach used by the chiropodists/podiatrists takes four years to
learn and perfect, it only stands to reason that there must be a substantial
difference over the approach that was learned in a matter of days or
Apart from the “flashy” marketing value, the benefit to users of gimmicks and shortcuts is that they require very little training to learn or use and are far more profitable. However, what the unsuspecting public may be purchasing is no more than an expensive arch support or a faulty device that is not suited to correcting their particular foot condition.
- Regulation: Orthotics in Canada are not regulated. This means that anyone – despite their lack of qualifications – can post a sign and begin providing orthotics. This said, Chiropodists/podiatrists are legally regulated through the Chiropody Act by the College of Chiropodists of Ontario. Theirs is the only regulated body to specify standards for quality, care, and technique when it comes to orthotics.
For more information on your good foot health, you can always visit the Kawartha Total Foot Care Centre web site.